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Climate Change Natural Man Made: Marching Towards Extinction
Climate Change Natural Man Made: Marching Towards Extinction is the second article in a series of 6 on the topic of climate change.   In Climate Change Natural Man Made: Causes and Facts , we took a deep-dive in the history, science and geography surrounding climate change. Now that we have gotten a basic understanding of what factors play an important role in the changing of our climate, we must look beyond the CO2. Yes, climate change is a complex issue that is never easy to discuss. Although it should be discussed frequently and fervently to avoid the ‘end of days’ so often cited by activists. This second article looks at the playing field that we, humans, created. It will discuss the forces within the world population itself that drive or hinder any efforts to counter climate change. It will look at the different societies, differing opinions across different geographic regions.   It will also look at groups who have a specific vested interest in the topic - like the fossil fuel industry, governments, the food and sugar industry, and lobbyists. But also at environmental groups, activists and innovators. Both sides of the board will be heard and assessed to get the answer to the most important question: who is on board to tackle climate change? Ignoring climate change? Is it too heavy?       The answer to the question above should be obvious. After all, who would not be on board to tackle a potentially catastrophic, mass-life-wiping-out event? Yet somehow, it has not been as straightforward. This funny thing called human psychology is really messing up what would be a clear plan moving forward.   It looks as if we have become immune to people telling us that we have just boarded a train that is racing down an unfinished track to eventually plummet off a deadly cliff. Yes, we know there are a bunch of stations in-between, where we can get off and ensure our safety. But after the fifth call announcing this sure and imminent death, we just do not feel as alarmed anymore.   In the past, this inconvenient little switch in our brain was actually quite helpful. Do you think cavemen ever worried about the next month? The next year? Or even a couple of years down the road? Chances are they were more concerned with finding food and shelter for the next few nights instead.   Survival instincts, which have always been a key element of our evolution, dictate that we look at the danger right in front of us - be it a sable tooth tiger or a taxi swerving towards us when crossing the street - and prioritise this over perhaps more significant dangers down the road. ‘We’ll cross that bridge when we get there’ has become an international motto, it seems, indicating that we leave any problem solving of pressing issues to the last possible moment. And while it may have indeed been a good idea to run away and hide when faced with a mad woolly mammoth instead of worrying about next year’s crops, this rarely ever applies today. We actually tend to avoid situations that scare us or make us uncomfortable as much as possible.   The truth is, we just do not like talking about ‘bad’ things. This thing called the probability bias is letting us ‘rationalise’ (or, more accurately, ‘irrationalise’) away things that we just want to avoid. We estimate the chances of it impacting us personally as too low to really care about. This leads to us being utterly helpless when it does in fact really happen. Whether it is us not being insured for floods or tornadoes (‘what are the odds of that happening to me’) or not taking action against climate change (‘it will surely last my lifetime’) - we just do not seem to care enough until it is too late. According to Norwegian psychologist Per Espen Stoknes, the level of concern regarding climate change has never been lower in rich Western democracies - dropping steadily as the pile of climate science-related research actually grew larger. He blamed this on five barriers that explain this seemingly irrational behaviour: distance, dissonance, doom, denial and identity. Climate change is simply too distant (in both actual proximity and time).   And while we know that we ought to save the polar bears and really care about these poor animals losing their habitat, we just cannot bring ourselves to really do something about it - even though we know we should. This is the dissonance that, coupled with the feeling of distance, lets us ignore the issue rather than take a stand. What are the conditions where the transit must take place? There is, however, a scientific way around this. Or so George Marshall thinks, specialist in climate change communications and writer of ‘ Why Our Brains Are Wired To Ignore Climate Change ’. His claim is that we are much more likely to accept information if we are given a certain narrative. We should feel like it matters to us personally, it should be relatable.   Giving people a personal interest in climate change will rapidly change both their attitudes and actions. Scientific blah-blahs and statistics are just not rocking our boat. Instead, we must get in the minds of people and find out how they are thinking. What they are thinking. We should look at the people that they like, their leaders, and get them to transmit a message that is both accurate as well as relatable to their followers. Yes, this is already quite the job. After all, the world seems more polarised than ever before, with countries, religions, cultures, individuals, political parties and organisations occupying opposite ends of pretty much any spectrum. Opinions are seemingly becoming more extreme, often leaving little room for finding the ‘middle ground’.   This growing difference in opinion is often strictly correlated to the role someone plays in society. The wealth gap between the poorest and the richest is growing at an alarming pace, creating the ideal habitat for unrest. Those in the upper classes are mainly looking out to protect their share, while those who are not as lucky are screaming for more.   Inequality has increased anywhere in the world despite substantial geographical differences, with the richest 1% twice as wealthy as the poorest 50%. The results of the World Inequality Report 2018 This occurs both within as well as between countries. The rich, western countries are protecting their standard of life at all costs, even if this means exploiting other countries, natural resources or the environment at large. At the same time, developing countries are eager to obtain a similar life standard and will not hesitate to follow similar practices. Between the 7.7 billion of us walking this planet, surely enough people should care enough to actually make a tangible difference. Right? Well, let’s break down our potential troops. Facts are that half of the world population has to make do with a daily income below $ 5.50.   Putting aside the obvious fact that perhaps the countries that they live in will be able to get you more bang for this buck, it is still unreasonable to assume that those people are able to do more than just survive. If they are not even sure whether they have enough water to last the night, how can you expect them to care about clean drinking water? If they live in appalling conditions, how can you expect them to take a stance on climate change? That leaves us the other half of the world population, including most of the western world. Within this group, there are some 26 people who together earn more than the bottom half I mentioned before. Surely they will have enough resources to care about the world? Well, yes, although they - and along with them, most of the western countries - claim to be more social and sustainable than ever before, the reality is that they just aren’t moving enough sand. Let’s look at one example. Europe is battling a never-ending wave of extremist politicians, dividing their respective countries to the bone on issues like the European Union, socialism, refugees and - yes - climate change. Politicians seem more concerned with their own image and pleasing their supporters than they are with actually governing. The end result is a frightening lack of strong commitment: the voters do not care enough, which means that they do not. Vague long-term commitments and unclear timelines follow suit. Some might look at the Paris Agreement and say that this must surely be that raised fist that we were waiting for. Yet instead of spending this kind of money on cold-hard action, the five largest publicly listed oil and gas companies have since allocated a $1 billion budget on public relations and lobbying efforts. All meant to actively control, delay or block some of the policies that might hurt them. They are not alone. With them, companies and trade associations running the sugary food and drinks industry are spending nearly $25 million per year to lobby against similar policies; while car manufacturers are handing out a shabby $20 million per year on lobbying efforts. This is still nothing compared to the plastics industry, rallying vehemently against the plastics ban and having delayed it for several years.   It may be clear that our current governing system is heavily influenced by corporate interests. The all-mighty big corporations have plenty of money to spend on lawyers and PR campaigns, as well as personal gifts and all-expenses-paid trips to tropical resorts for politicians.   Lobbyists hold a great influence in Brussels and, well, pretty much anywhere else in the world. And those who do not have the money to spend - including NGO’s and corporations truly concerned about the environment - will find themselves unable to sway the political opinion.   European Union alternative energy investments Although, to say something positive about the European Union as well, they have gotten their renewable energy investments off in a pretty solid manner. At this time, more than 30% of electricity is generated by renewable sources, a vast increase from the 12% it was back in 2000. If this growth rate can be kept up, expectations are that the share of renewables in the total energy mix will be up to 50% by 2030.   The Netherlands: lagging In order to meet this number, some countries will have to take a good, hard look at their current policies. Within the EU, two countries that you might not expect to be are in fact severely lagging behind. Luxembourg (6.4%) and the Netherlands (6.6%) are at the bottom of the list when it comes to consumption of energy generated by renewable sources.   Despite several high-profile windfarm projects on the North Sea, the Netherlands is particularly far away from reaching its targets. Surprising, considering that this country will be hit hard by climate change due to the fact that a large part of the country is below sea level. United States of America Moving across the ocean, things aren’t all peachy either. While Europeans do not have much faith in their representatives, Americans are not feeling the love either. Evidence has pointed to Americans overwhelmingly disapproving of their Congress.   This is mainly the result of politicians not sharing their interests and priorities - and Congress not being a true representation of society. For instance, a majority of Congress and Senate members are millionaires, despite only about 1% of Americans having this kind of money in their bank account. How can these governing bodies even aspire to be a blueprint of society, representing all Americans equally, when their interests are so obviously skewed to those of the upper classes? United States alternative energy investments As an example of this, even though a majority of the US population might be in favour of more renewable energy sources, this is proving to be pretty hard to realise. Throughout the first half of 2016, about 13% of electricity was generated by renewable sources - a number that should not satisfy you for a number of reasons.   Despite President Trump claiming that the US has one of the ‘cleanest climates’, whatever that means, the facts are still worrying.   US greenhouse gas emissions In absolute numbers, the United States is no longer the single largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, having lost this position to China some time ago. It does, however, still rank extremely high in terms of per capita emissions. Higher than China and most other developed and industrialised countries.   And yes, the policies that were initiated by Barack Obama to switch from coal to gas have resulted in a decline of carbon emissions; yet experts estimate that the country will not even come close to meeting the target levels of cutting emissions by 26-28% compared to the 2005 levels by 2025. The election of a certain Donald J. Trump certainly has not improved this outlook, for several reasons. Fracking Thanks to practice of fracking - the blasting of dense shale rock with water, sand and chemicals to release tiny bubbles of fossil fuel - the United States has revved up its gas industry. It brought along a lot of pollution and water shortages. Not to mention leaks of methane, a huge contributor to climate change. A new study of water in Texas’ Barnett Shale area reveals "incredibly alarming" levels of contamination, with fracking the prime suspect Fossil fuel exploration Trump has made it his mission to loosen regulations regarding National Parks and protected areas, in doing so freeing up more land for expanding both the oil and gas industries. Drilling in the pristine wilderness of Alaska has been one of his spearheads, enraging many for destroying valuable nature areas while once again increasing the reliance on fossil fuels. Fuel efficiency standards Another hotly debated issue championed by Trump is the loosening of regulations on the automotive industry, reducing the need for higher fuel efficiency. A big thing, as fuel efficiency in the US has historically already been much lower than in other countries. Less fuel efficient cars, vans and trucks will once again increase emissions and pollution. International cooperation The list of potentially climate-wrecking policies and plans as initiated by the Donald does not stop there. His decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has, although it cannot be implemented during his term, already left a wake of destruction; with several other countries considering a withdrawal as well and fossil fuel companies and lobbyists regaining some of their power.   Climate denial Most will have heard the illustrious U.S. President flat out denying climate change , having called it a Chinese hoax and a Democratic plot to hurt the Republicans. It is not hard to see why such a statement of such an influential person will leave many of his followers in doubt as well. Hence, the United States boasts a much higher rate of climate change deniers than any other Western nation.   Water ‘ We have the cleanest water, it's crystal clean ,’ or so Mr. Trump has claimed, continuously emphasising how much he values this. His actions seem to point to the contrary, though, with policies aimed at cleaning up the U.S. water supply being rolled back and opening up protected streams and wetlands to potentially damaging pesticides and pollutants.   Air At the same time the very same businessman-turned-president exclaimed his desire for ‘the cleanest air’, he actually rolled back Obama’s plans to cut back greenhouse gas emissions from factories and power plants. Instead, he is hoping to open up more coal power plants and stations. Safe to say this will not get him the clean air he is hoping for. India Moving on to one of the more developing nations in the world, India, where we unfortunately see the same pattern of the rich and corrupt few governing the many. As India has a huge population of dirt-poor people, they are likely to be hit the hardest when it comes to climate change-initiated hits to their food sources, living accommodations and income.   Yet these people do not have a say in the matter, as the politicians deciding on climate change matters are worth millions and millions of dollars and, frankly, keep on raking in the dough by accepting huge cash donations from the ‘sponsors’ - who have a vested interest in keeping impactful measures at bay.   India’s alternative energy investments Besides China, India is the largest builder of renewable energy projects - mainly solar and wind, having resulted in some 75 gigawatts of solar, wind and other renewable sources having already been built and another 45 gigawatts well underway. A promising leap forward, although it has to be noted that the country still heavily relies on its coal industry - generating about 57% (2018) of the nation’s electricity needs.   As the country is growing and urbanising fast, it is unlikely to assume that the share of renewables is going to increase. China At the risk of sounding repetitive, China’s parliament is very out of touch with the regular people on the street as well. The 209 richest delegates together have a net worth exceeding the annual GDP of Sweden, a fortune that has often been made through corporate investments. They do not really hold any legislative sway within the Communist country, although their preference for keeping industry ‘as is’ is pretty obvious. China’s alternative energy investments In 2018 alone, China connected close to 21 gigawatts of wind capacity and 44 gigawatts of solar capacity to its grid. Staggering numbers from a nation that is committed to making renewable energy work, through its energy revolution. Unfortunately, the country is also investing heavily in coal, which is still the primary source of energy - despite claims of the government that it is produced using ‘ultra-low emission technology’.   Coal-fired power plants built in other countries Another proven tactic of China has been to build coal-fired power plants in other countries, using equipment that is no longer permitted within China’s borders. Countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Egypt and Indonesia are overseeing builds of Chinese-funded and owned power plants - hardly a way of showing sustainable intent.   China's overseas ventures include hundreds of electric power plants that burn coal, which is a significant emitter of the carbon scientifically linked to climate change. Edward Cunningham, a specialist on China and its energy markets at Harvard University, tells NPR that China is building or planning more than 300 coal plants in places as widely spread as Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt and the Philippines Are we really motivated to change? Looking at all of those countries, it might come across as if they are not really motivated to change. All governments are unanimously proclaiming that they really want to change and care about the environment, but when looking at the numbers, it does not seem to match up. Most countries still subsidise the fossil fuel industry and allow lobbyists and corporations to take their seat at the table. Tax cuts for clean energy and production are stil minimal, while Western countries are not really eager to help the developing nations through their knowledge and expertise of clean technologies. Quite the contrary, they seem more concerned with preservering their own life standard rather than worrying about their environmental footprint across the border.   It are often the wealthy who govern, with the poor suffering the worst consequences of their actions. The poor live in the areas that will be affected badly and are unable to prepare for the negative effects. They will be the first to lose access to land, food and energy. So while the rich are largely responsible for climate change, they will be more likely to survive it and suffer the least.   Scientists and politicians We are actually looking at a battle between science and politics. While the latter is tainted by bribery, lobbying and bureaucracy, scientists are actively trying to apply their knowledge of engineering, technology and physics. But before they can do so, they first have to find a way of navigating this minefield called politics, that mainly seems to serve the self-interests of the wealthiest.   Worrisome prognoses Realistically, chances aren’t great of any world leader turning to a big corporation like Shell and telling them to completely change their business model or shut down altogether. And, let’s be honest, we cannot truly expect those kind of multinationals to radically change course overnight. What we can do, however, is to provide incentives to make this change more appealing. Financially attractive. Feasible, from a business point of view. It can be done. Some countries have already successfully cut back their carbon dioxide emissions. It requires legislation, regulation, persuasion and conviction - but it can be done. Even then we will not be able to save ‘all’, but at least we can still take care of a good chunk of it.   This will prevent a potentially disastrous butterfly effect, where poor countries will become even poorer as a result of fewer resources available to the many and where climate refugees will become a hot issue - one that, I am afraid, will not be handled well when looking at the current refugee crises in Europe and Central America.   ‘Last call’ for our politicians. The protests around the world Perhaps what the world needs first is a change in mindset. Not of the leaders, but from the bottom up. Recent protests have shown how loud the voice of the people can be, if only they are convinced of their own right. Media has jumped on these protests, amplifying the message that enough is enough - and climate change can no longer be ignored by those in power.   An estimated 1.4 million young people in 123 countries skipped school on the 15th of March 2019 to demand stronger climate policies in what may be one of the largest environmental protests in history We are entering the end-game of climate change. Either we keep on marching towards our own extinction, or we take action and hold those in power accountable.   https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Climate Change Natural Man Made: Marching Towards Extinction is the second article in a series of 6 on the topic of climate change.   In Climate Change Natural Man Made: Causes and Facts , we took a deep-dive in the history, science and geography surrounding climate change. Now that we have gotten a basic understanding of what factors play an important role in the changing of our climate, we must look beyond the CO2. Yes, climate change is a complex issue that is never easy to discuss. Although it should be discussed frequently and fervently to avoid the ‘end of days’ so often cited by activists. This second article looks at the playing field that we, humans, created. It will discuss the forces within the world population itself that drive or hinder any efforts to counter climate change. It will look at the different societies, differing opinions across different geographic regions.   It will also look at groups who have a specific vested interest in the topic - like the fossil fuel industry, governments, the food and sugar industry, and lobbyists. But also at environmental groups, activists and innovators. Both sides of the board will be heard and assessed to get the answer to the most important question: who is on board to tackle climate change? Ignoring climate change? Is it too heavy?       The answer to the question above should be obvious. After all, who would not be on board to tackle a potentially catastrophic, mass-life-wiping-out event? Yet somehow, it has not been as straightforward. This funny thing called human psychology is really messing up what would be a clear plan moving forward.   It looks as if we have become immune to people telling us that we have just boarded a train that is racing down an unfinished track to eventually plummet off a deadly cliff. Yes, we know there are a bunch of stations in-between, where we can get off and ensure our safety. But after the fifth call announcing this sure and imminent death, we just do not feel as alarmed anymore.   In the past, this inconvenient little switch in our brain was actually quite helpful. Do you think cavemen ever worried about the next month? The next year? Or even a couple of years down the road? Chances are they were more concerned with finding food and shelter for the next few nights instead.   Survival instincts, which have always been a key element of our evolution, dictate that we look at the danger right in front of us - be it a sable tooth tiger or a taxi swerving towards us when crossing the street - and prioritise this over perhaps more significant dangers down the road. ‘We’ll cross that bridge when we get there’ has become an international motto, it seems, indicating that we leave any problem solving of pressing issues to the last possible moment. And while it may have indeed been a good idea to run away and hide when faced with a mad woolly mammoth instead of worrying about next year’s crops, this rarely ever applies today. We actually tend to avoid situations that scare us or make us uncomfortable as much as possible.   The truth is, we just do not like talking about ‘bad’ things. This thing called the probability bias is letting us ‘rationalise’ (or, more accurately, ‘irrationalise’) away things that we just want to avoid. We estimate the chances of it impacting us personally as too low to really care about. This leads to us being utterly helpless when it does in fact really happen. Whether it is us not being insured for floods or tornadoes (‘what are the odds of that happening to me’) or not taking action against climate change (‘it will surely last my lifetime’) - we just do not seem to care enough until it is too late. According to Norwegian psychologist Per Espen Stoknes, the level of concern regarding climate change has never been lower in rich Western democracies - dropping steadily as the pile of climate science-related research actually grew larger. He blamed this on five barriers that explain this seemingly irrational behaviour: distance, dissonance, doom, denial and identity. Climate change is simply too distant (in both actual proximity and time).   And while we know that we ought to save the polar bears and really care about these poor animals losing their habitat, we just cannot bring ourselves to really do something about it - even though we know we should. This is the dissonance that, coupled with the feeling of distance, lets us ignore the issue rather than take a stand. What are the conditions where the transit must take place? There is, however, a scientific way around this. Or so George Marshall thinks, specialist in climate change communications and writer of ‘ Why Our Brains Are Wired To Ignore Climate Change ’. His claim is that we are much more likely to accept information if we are given a certain narrative. We should feel like it matters to us personally, it should be relatable.   Giving people a personal interest in climate change will rapidly change both their attitudes and actions. Scientific blah-blahs and statistics are just not rocking our boat. Instead, we must get in the minds of people and find out how they are thinking. What they are thinking. We should look at the people that they like, their leaders, and get them to transmit a message that is both accurate as well as relatable to their followers. Yes, this is already quite the job. After all, the world seems more polarised than ever before, with countries, religions, cultures, individuals, political parties and organisations occupying opposite ends of pretty much any spectrum. Opinions are seemingly becoming more extreme, often leaving little room for finding the ‘middle ground’.   This growing difference in opinion is often strictly correlated to the role someone plays in society. The wealth gap between the poorest and the richest is growing at an alarming pace, creating the ideal habitat for unrest. Those in the upper classes are mainly looking out to protect their share, while those who are not as lucky are screaming for more.   Inequality has increased anywhere in the world despite substantial geographical differences, with the richest 1% twice as wealthy as the poorest 50%. The results of the World Inequality Report 2018 This occurs both within as well as between countries. The rich, western countries are protecting their standard of life at all costs, even if this means exploiting other countries, natural resources or the environment at large. At the same time, developing countries are eager to obtain a similar life standard and will not hesitate to follow similar practices. Between the 7.7 billion of us walking this planet, surely enough people should care enough to actually make a tangible difference. Right? Well, let’s break down our potential troops. Facts are that half of the world population has to make do with a daily income below $ 5.50.   Putting aside the obvious fact that perhaps the countries that they live in will be able to get you more bang for this buck, it is still unreasonable to assume that those people are able to do more than just survive. If they are not even sure whether they have enough water to last the night, how can you expect them to care about clean drinking water? If they live in appalling conditions, how can you expect them to take a stance on climate change? That leaves us the other half of the world population, including most of the western world. Within this group, there are some 26 people who together earn more than the bottom half I mentioned before. Surely they will have enough resources to care about the world? Well, yes, although they - and along with them, most of the western countries - claim to be more social and sustainable than ever before, the reality is that they just aren’t moving enough sand. Let’s look at one example. Europe is battling a never-ending wave of extremist politicians, dividing their respective countries to the bone on issues like the European Union, socialism, refugees and - yes - climate change. Politicians seem more concerned with their own image and pleasing their supporters than they are with actually governing. The end result is a frightening lack of strong commitment: the voters do not care enough, which means that they do not. Vague long-term commitments and unclear timelines follow suit. Some might look at the Paris Agreement and say that this must surely be that raised fist that we were waiting for. Yet instead of spending this kind of money on cold-hard action, the five largest publicly listed oil and gas companies have since allocated a $1 billion budget on public relations and lobbying efforts. All meant to actively control, delay or block some of the policies that might hurt them. They are not alone. With them, companies and trade associations running the sugary food and drinks industry are spending nearly $25 million per year to lobby against similar policies; while car manufacturers are handing out a shabby $20 million per year on lobbying efforts. This is still nothing compared to the plastics industry, rallying vehemently against the plastics ban and having delayed it for several years.   It may be clear that our current governing system is heavily influenced by corporate interests. The all-mighty big corporations have plenty of money to spend on lawyers and PR campaigns, as well as personal gifts and all-expenses-paid trips to tropical resorts for politicians.   Lobbyists hold a great influence in Brussels and, well, pretty much anywhere else in the world. And those who do not have the money to spend - including NGO’s and corporations truly concerned about the environment - will find themselves unable to sway the political opinion.   European Union alternative energy investments Although, to say something positive about the European Union as well, they have gotten their renewable energy investments off in a pretty solid manner. At this time, more than 30% of electricity is generated by renewable sources, a vast increase from the 12% it was back in 2000. If this growth rate can be kept up, expectations are that the share of renewables in the total energy mix will be up to 50% by 2030.   The Netherlands: lagging In order to meet this number, some countries will have to take a good, hard look at their current policies. Within the EU, two countries that you might not expect to be are in fact severely lagging behind. Luxembourg (6.4%) and the Netherlands (6.6%) are at the bottom of the list when it comes to consumption of energy generated by renewable sources.   Despite several high-profile windfarm projects on the North Sea, the Netherlands is particularly far away from reaching its targets. Surprising, considering that this country will be hit hard by climate change due to the fact that a large part of the country is below sea level. United States of America Moving across the ocean, things aren’t all peachy either. While Europeans do not have much faith in their representatives, Americans are not feeling the love either. Evidence has pointed to Americans overwhelmingly disapproving of their Congress.   This is mainly the result of politicians not sharing their interests and priorities - and Congress not being a true representation of society. For instance, a majority of Congress and Senate members are millionaires, despite only about 1% of Americans having this kind of money in their bank account. How can these governing bodies even aspire to be a blueprint of society, representing all Americans equally, when their interests are so obviously skewed to those of the upper classes? United States alternative energy investments As an example of this, even though a majority of the US population might be in favour of more renewable energy sources, this is proving to be pretty hard to realise. Throughout the first half of 2016, about 13% of electricity was generated by renewable sources - a number that should not satisfy you for a number of reasons.   Despite President Trump claiming that the US has one of the ‘cleanest climates’, whatever that means, the facts are still worrying.   US greenhouse gas emissions In absolute numbers, the United States is no longer the single largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, having lost this position to China some time ago. It does, however, still rank extremely high in terms of per capita emissions. Higher than China and most other developed and industrialised countries.   And yes, the policies that were initiated by Barack Obama to switch from coal to gas have resulted in a decline of carbon emissions; yet experts estimate that the country will not even come close to meeting the target levels of cutting emissions by 26-28% compared to the 2005 levels by 2025. The election of a certain Donald J. Trump certainly has not improved this outlook, for several reasons. Fracking Thanks to practice of fracking - the blasting of dense shale rock with water, sand and chemicals to release tiny bubbles of fossil fuel - the United States has revved up its gas industry. It brought along a lot of pollution and water shortages. Not to mention leaks of methane, a huge contributor to climate change. A new study of water in Texas’ Barnett Shale area reveals "incredibly alarming" levels of contamination, with fracking the prime suspect Fossil fuel exploration Trump has made it his mission to loosen regulations regarding National Parks and protected areas, in doing so freeing up more land for expanding both the oil and gas industries. Drilling in the pristine wilderness of Alaska has been one of his spearheads, enraging many for destroying valuable nature areas while once again increasing the reliance on fossil fuels. Fuel efficiency standards Another hotly debated issue championed by Trump is the loosening of regulations on the automotive industry, reducing the need for higher fuel efficiency. A big thing, as fuel efficiency in the US has historically already been much lower than in other countries. Less fuel efficient cars, vans and trucks will once again increase emissions and pollution. International cooperation The list of potentially climate-wrecking policies and plans as initiated by the Donald does not stop there. His decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has, although it cannot be implemented during his term, already left a wake of destruction; with several other countries considering a withdrawal as well and fossil fuel companies and lobbyists regaining some of their power.   Climate denial Most will have heard the illustrious U.S. President flat out denying climate change , having called it a Chinese hoax and a Democratic plot to hurt the Republicans. It is not hard to see why such a statement of such an influential person will leave many of his followers in doubt as well. Hence, the United States boasts a much higher rate of climate change deniers than any other Western nation.   Water ‘ We have the cleanest water, it's crystal clean ,’ or so Mr. Trump has claimed, continuously emphasising how much he values this. His actions seem to point to the contrary, though, with policies aimed at cleaning up the U.S. water supply being rolled back and opening up protected streams and wetlands to potentially damaging pesticides and pollutants.   Air At the same time the very same businessman-turned-president exclaimed his desire for ‘the cleanest air’, he actually rolled back Obama’s plans to cut back greenhouse gas emissions from factories and power plants. Instead, he is hoping to open up more coal power plants and stations. Safe to say this will not get him the clean air he is hoping for. India Moving on to one of the more developing nations in the world, India, where we unfortunately see the same pattern of the rich and corrupt few governing the many. As India has a huge population of dirt-poor people, they are likely to be hit the hardest when it comes to climate change-initiated hits to their food sources, living accommodations and income.   Yet these people do not have a say in the matter, as the politicians deciding on climate change matters are worth millions and millions of dollars and, frankly, keep on raking in the dough by accepting huge cash donations from the ‘sponsors’ - who have a vested interest in keeping impactful measures at bay.   India’s alternative energy investments Besides China, India is the largest builder of renewable energy projects - mainly solar and wind, having resulted in some 75 gigawatts of solar, wind and other renewable sources having already been built and another 45 gigawatts well underway. A promising leap forward, although it has to be noted that the country still heavily relies on its coal industry - generating about 57% (2018) of the nation’s electricity needs.   As the country is growing and urbanising fast, it is unlikely to assume that the share of renewables is going to increase. China At the risk of sounding repetitive, China’s parliament is very out of touch with the regular people on the street as well. The 209 richest delegates together have a net worth exceeding the annual GDP of Sweden, a fortune that has often been made through corporate investments. They do not really hold any legislative sway within the Communist country, although their preference for keeping industry ‘as is’ is pretty obvious. China’s alternative energy investments In 2018 alone, China connected close to 21 gigawatts of wind capacity and 44 gigawatts of solar capacity to its grid. Staggering numbers from a nation that is committed to making renewable energy work, through its energy revolution. Unfortunately, the country is also investing heavily in coal, which is still the primary source of energy - despite claims of the government that it is produced using ‘ultra-low emission technology’.   Coal-fired power plants built in other countries Another proven tactic of China has been to build coal-fired power plants in other countries, using equipment that is no longer permitted within China’s borders. Countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Egypt and Indonesia are overseeing builds of Chinese-funded and owned power plants - hardly a way of showing sustainable intent.   China's overseas ventures include hundreds of electric power plants that burn coal, which is a significant emitter of the carbon scientifically linked to climate change. Edward Cunningham, a specialist on China and its energy markets at Harvard University, tells NPR that China is building or planning more than 300 coal plants in places as widely spread as Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt and the Philippines Are we really motivated to change? Looking at all of those countries, it might come across as if they are not really motivated to change. All governments are unanimously proclaiming that they really want to change and care about the environment, but when looking at the numbers, it does not seem to match up. Most countries still subsidise the fossil fuel industry and allow lobbyists and corporations to take their seat at the table. Tax cuts for clean energy and production are stil minimal, while Western countries are not really eager to help the developing nations through their knowledge and expertise of clean technologies. Quite the contrary, they seem more concerned with preservering their own life standard rather than worrying about their environmental footprint across the border.   It are often the wealthy who govern, with the poor suffering the worst consequences of their actions. The poor live in the areas that will be affected badly and are unable to prepare for the negative effects. They will be the first to lose access to land, food and energy. So while the rich are largely responsible for climate change, they will be more likely to survive it and suffer the least.   Scientists and politicians We are actually looking at a battle between science and politics. While the latter is tainted by bribery, lobbying and bureaucracy, scientists are actively trying to apply their knowledge of engineering, technology and physics. But before they can do so, they first have to find a way of navigating this minefield called politics, that mainly seems to serve the self-interests of the wealthiest.   Worrisome prognoses Realistically, chances aren’t great of any world leader turning to a big corporation like Shell and telling them to completely change their business model or shut down altogether. And, let’s be honest, we cannot truly expect those kind of multinationals to radically change course overnight. What we can do, however, is to provide incentives to make this change more appealing. Financially attractive. Feasible, from a business point of view. It can be done. Some countries have already successfully cut back their carbon dioxide emissions. It requires legislation, regulation, persuasion and conviction - but it can be done. Even then we will not be able to save ‘all’, but at least we can still take care of a good chunk of it.   This will prevent a potentially disastrous butterfly effect, where poor countries will become even poorer as a result of fewer resources available to the many and where climate refugees will become a hot issue - one that, I am afraid, will not be handled well when looking at the current refugee crises in Europe and Central America.   ‘Last call’ for our politicians. The protests around the world Perhaps what the world needs first is a change in mindset. Not of the leaders, but from the bottom up. Recent protests have shown how loud the voice of the people can be, if only they are convinced of their own right. Media has jumped on these protests, amplifying the message that enough is enough - and climate change can no longer be ignored by those in power.   An estimated 1.4 million young people in 123 countries skipped school on the 15th of March 2019 to demand stronger climate policies in what may be one of the largest environmental protests in history We are entering the end-game of climate change. Either we keep on marching towards our own extinction, or we take action and hold those in power accountable.   https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Climate Change Natural Man Made: Marching Towards Extinction
Climate Change Natural Man Made: Marching Towards Extinction
Boyan Slat Ocean Cleanup: Restart Plastic Soup Collection
Great Pacific garbage patch: giant plastic trap put to sea again. Boyan Slat ’s Ocean Cleanup System nicknamed ‘Wilson’ broke when first deployed, but its creator is buoyant about the second attempt to clean up the 'plastic soup'.  A floating device designed to catch plastic waste has been redeployed in a second attempt to clean up a huge island of garbage swirling in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii. Twitter Boyan Slat, creator of the Ocean Cleanup project , announced on Twitter that a 600 metre (2,000ft) long floating boom that broke apart late last year was sent back to the Great Pacific garbage patch this week after four months of repair. A ship towed the U-shaped barrier from San Francisco to the patch in September to trap the plastic. But during the four months at sea, the boom broke apart under constant waves and wind and the boom was not retaining the plastic it caught. “Hopefully nature doesn’t have too many surprises in store for us this time,” Slat tweeted. “Either way, we’re set to learn a lot from this campaign.” Fitted with solar-powered lights, cameras, sensors and satellite antennas, the device intends to communicate its position at all times, allowing a support vessel to fish out the collected plastic every few months and transport it to dry land. The plastic barrier with a tapered three metre deep (10ft deep) screen is intended to act like a coastline, trapping some of the 1.8tn pieces of plastic that scientists estimate are swirling in the patch while allowing marine life to safely swim beneath it. Post by: Associated Press https://www.whatsorb.com/category/waste
Great Pacific garbage patch: giant plastic trap put to sea again. Boyan Slat ’s Ocean Cleanup System nicknamed ‘Wilson’ broke when first deployed, but its creator is buoyant about the second attempt to clean up the 'plastic soup'.  A floating device designed to catch plastic waste has been redeployed in a second attempt to clean up a huge island of garbage swirling in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii. Twitter Boyan Slat, creator of the Ocean Cleanup project , announced on Twitter that a 600 metre (2,000ft) long floating boom that broke apart late last year was sent back to the Great Pacific garbage patch this week after four months of repair. A ship towed the U-shaped barrier from San Francisco to the patch in September to trap the plastic. But during the four months at sea, the boom broke apart under constant waves and wind and the boom was not retaining the plastic it caught. “Hopefully nature doesn’t have too many surprises in store for us this time,” Slat tweeted. “Either way, we’re set to learn a lot from this campaign.” Fitted with solar-powered lights, cameras, sensors and satellite antennas, the device intends to communicate its position at all times, allowing a support vessel to fish out the collected plastic every few months and transport it to dry land. The plastic barrier with a tapered three metre deep (10ft deep) screen is intended to act like a coastline, trapping some of the 1.8tn pieces of plastic that scientists estimate are swirling in the patch while allowing marine life to safely swim beneath it. Post by: Associated Press https://www.whatsorb.com/category/waste
Boyan Slat Ocean Cleanup: Restart Plastic Soup Collection
Tiny House, The Exbury Egg: Floating Off-Grid Workspace: UK
The Exbury Egg: a home or workplace shaped like an egg, built from natural resources and inspired by nesting seabirds. You might think you are dreaming, but it exists in the United Kingdom. An egg with the size of a small student dorm, created from wood, floating on the Beaulieu river in the UK. Are you familiar with this piece of art? What is this egg? On the shore of the river Beaulieu, you will find a teeny tiny house called the Exbury Egg, designed by Stephen Turner. The artist created the egg with the help of PAD studios and SPUD design studios. Turner designed the egg as an artwork, a place where you both can work and sleep, a place to think, to explore life around you. The egg is a kind of boat, tethered in the Beaulieu river in Exbury, rising and falling with the tide. A calendar of all seasons You can see the egg as a blueprint of life: an egg symbolises new life, renewal, protection and fragility. The cool thing about the egg is that it is made of wood, so it evolves and changes by time, as the wind scours it, and the sea bleaches it. How does it look like?
 You can see at the picture above that it is an egg-shaped building . Inside you will find Turner’s collection of found objects, digital imagery of his surroundings and personal maps. The egg has all the necessities you need, such as a desk, a hammock to relax, a kitchen with a stove and sink. There is no running water, but the artist was smart to use a hosepipe. He made use of solar charges because there is also no electricity. Besides a workspace and a tiny home to stay, the Exbury Egg is also an educational tool, and local students are observing the design, the “building”, and the installation of the egg. What was Turner’s main goal? Turner wanted to develop something with natural elements so we can re-appraise the way we live. He hoped, with this egg-shaped building made out of wood, that we adequately consider sustainability as the future use of natural resources. The artist is interested in exploring a more empathetic relationship with nature, which shows the valuable and natural cycles and processes, and the relationship of the environment with the narratives of human activity. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/tiny-houses/tinyhouses  
The Exbury Egg: a home or workplace shaped like an egg, built from natural resources and inspired by nesting seabirds. You might think you are dreaming, but it exists in the United Kingdom. An egg with the size of a small student dorm, created from wood, floating on the Beaulieu river in the UK. Are you familiar with this piece of art? What is this egg? On the shore of the river Beaulieu, you will find a teeny tiny house called the Exbury Egg, designed by Stephen Turner. The artist created the egg with the help of PAD studios and SPUD design studios. Turner designed the egg as an artwork, a place where you both can work and sleep, a place to think, to explore life around you. The egg is a kind of boat, tethered in the Beaulieu river in Exbury, rising and falling with the tide. A calendar of all seasons You can see the egg as a blueprint of life: an egg symbolises new life, renewal, protection and fragility. The cool thing about the egg is that it is made of wood, so it evolves and changes by time, as the wind scours it, and the sea bleaches it. How does it look like?
 You can see at the picture above that it is an egg-shaped building . Inside you will find Turner’s collection of found objects, digital imagery of his surroundings and personal maps. The egg has all the necessities you need, such as a desk, a hammock to relax, a kitchen with a stove and sink. There is no running water, but the artist was smart to use a hosepipe. He made use of solar charges because there is also no electricity. Besides a workspace and a tiny home to stay, the Exbury Egg is also an educational tool, and local students are observing the design, the “building”, and the installation of the egg. What was Turner’s main goal? Turner wanted to develop something with natural elements so we can re-appraise the way we live. He hoped, with this egg-shaped building made out of wood, that we adequately consider sustainability as the future use of natural resources. The artist is interested in exploring a more empathetic relationship with nature, which shows the valuable and natural cycles and processes, and the relationship of the environment with the narratives of human activity. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/tiny-houses/tinyhouses  
Tiny House, The Exbury Egg: Floating Off-Grid Workspace: UK
Tiny House, The Exbury Egg: Floating Off-Grid Workspace: UK
Climate Change Natural Man Made: Causes And Facts
Climate Change Natural Man Made: Causes and Facts is the first article in a series of 6 on the topic of climate change. Many in the world are looking at terrorism as one of the principal threats facing our planet today. Especially with the attention given to groups like ISIS expanding their sphere of influence in the Middle-East, it is not hard to understand why this instills such fear in mankind. Similarly, most of us will feel a certain sense of trepidation when the topic of North Korea is discussed. Yet others will underline the urgency of getting to a synchronised approach towards cyber-attacks, or wonder whether the typical great powers of Russia, the US and China are not getting too powerful.   Changing threats in a changing world All very valid issues that should be discussed at the highest levels of government and at the water cooler alike. Although in a surprising twist, you might not know what the top-ranking global issue threatening our world is. The one issue that is more urgent and more pressing than all of those mentioned above. The one that threatens our very existence. Climate change. Already in 2013, before the Paris Climate Agreement became a 'thing', 56% of countries questioned in an international survey indicated that global climate change would be a major threat to their country. This number rose to 63% in 2017, before reaching 67% one year later, in 2018.   Natural man made This first article in my series on climate change will discuss what, exactly, climate change entails. It summarises and reflects the commonly accepted scientific consensus on the systems that make and influence our climate, describing the immense complexity. Just to be perfectly clear: this article is not meant to point the finger at anyone. It is not taking a side in the debate of man made versus natural occurrence. The article is meant to explore the concept from the most objective standpoint possible. It will inevitably include words like ‘estimate’, ‘approximate’, ‘observed’, ‘hypotheses’, ‘models’ and ‘uncertainty’ - as those are the perfect representation of the complexity of the issue and the widely varying opinions on the topic.   Words are playing an important part as it is, as they form such an important part of how individuals look at climate change and perceive it. We experience climate change using our specific set of constructs and references. People might speak of their observations on a local level, citing their climate-related life experiences. Farmers use terminology that distinguishes between great and not so great seasons, linking that season’s weather to the related harvest yield. Scientists look at longer periods of time and distinguish trends on a larger scale. These perceptions all have one thing in common: they look at change.   What is climate change? Let’s just dive right in with the most significant question - that has proven to be the most difficult to answer. In a nutshell, climate change occurs when certain changes in our earth’s climate system lead to new weather patterns that last for at least a number of decades, although they could just as easily last for millions of years.   This definition is pretty much stone-clad, although it offers some definitions that are not as definitive. What does, after all, make up this climate system that is so determinant? Most will agree that our climate system is composed of five elements that interact with one another: Atmosphere , or the air around us Hydrosphere , or the water surrounding our continents Cryosphere , or the ice and permafrost covering our poles Biosphere , or all living things and beings Lithosphere , or the surface soils, rocks and sediments These elements rely on each other, which is why even subtle changes in one of them will have a big impact on the system as a whole. The system is ultimately powered by the sun, where it gets most of its energy from - with only a small portion taken from the earth’s interior. At the same time, the climate system ‘radiates’ energy as well, sending it off in outer space.   This balance of incoming and outgoing energy, combined with the way it passes through our climate system, makes up our earth’s energy budget. If there’s more energy incoming, we say that the earth has a positive energy budget - meaning that the climate system as a whole is warming. On the other hand, if there’s a greater outflow of energy, we have a negative energy budget, letting the earth experience a period of cooling. The incoming energy ‘flows’ through the climate system, being distributed around the globe by winds, ocean currents and other similar mechanisms. This results in what we know as the weather - as well as the long-term averages of weather, that we refer to as climate. Thus, it will not hold up if you refer to one bad summer as indicative of climate change - it will, though, if there are notable changes in the long term average. This, and only this, is what we refer to as climate change. Climate change : man made or natural Unfortunately, for all intents and purposes, 'climate change' has become the catch-all phrase for a vastly divergent group of concepts - including being used as a technical description of the process at hand as well as a noun that is used to describe the problem.   Consequently, both the terms ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’ are used interchangeably, now often being used to reflect man-made climate change (or global warming) in particular. This bias continues to exist even in popular scientific literature, making it harder to form a clear image of the actual problem. In order to avoid any confusion, this series of articles will utilise the most commonly accepted definition of climate change: a change in the statistical proporties of the climate system when considered over long periods of time, regardless of cause. This excludes weather evens like El Niño, that represent fluctuations over periods shorter than a few decades. Taking the explanation above into account, it will not be hard to see why these changes could partially result from the so-called ‘internal variability’, where the energy budget is altered by natural processes that make up our climate system, and partially by human activities. The carbon cycle, showing the movement of carbon between land, the atmosphere and the oceans. Yellow numbers are natural fluxes and red numbers are human contributions in gigatonnes of carbon per year. White numbers indicate stored carbon (The Carbon Cycle , NASA). History of climate change When looking into the causes and historical trends for climate change as a whole, to better understand both natural processes and human influence, researchers usually focus on evidence as preserved in typical climate proxies such as ice cores, ancient tree rings, geologic records of changes in sea level and glacial geology. Photo by: B.A.S. Dr E.C. Pasteur removing an ice core from the core barrel during drilling on an ice dome on Berkner Island. The collaborative drilling programme with the Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Bremerhaven, Germany recovered ice cores to study the climate and atmospheric conditions of the Weddell Sea region over the past millenium. These ‘time-capsules’ allow us to understand climate in a way we were unable to before. Before the 18th century, scientists were blissfully unaware of this thing called ‘climate’ and how earlier, prehistoric climates could be different from their own time period. Only towards the end of this century did they find evidence of changes in climate in geological ages long past, using the methods above. Through paleoclimatology, we try to study the changes in climate taken on the scale of the entire history of earth. Historical climatology, on the other hand, studies historical changes in climate and maps out the effect that they have had on human history and development. This heavily relies on the written word, hidden in sagas, chronicles, maps and literature; as well as on paintings, drawings or rock art to form an adequate picture of the past. It has been claimed that climate changes in the past are hiding in plain sight: driving changes in settlements and agricultural patterns, or even going so far as linking the rise and fall of various civilisations to significant climate events. Those have often been included in archaeological records, making it a silent witness (or perhaps even instigator) to many of the world’s biggest historical moments. Tracing climate change’s tracks Today, far less ‘guessing work’ is involved. We have satellites circling the earth that capture the incoming and outflowing radiation, making it relatively easy to track our energy budget - and with that, a significant portion of climate change. Such technological advances have only made it easier for us to deepen our research in the phenomenon, helping us to understand the working of our climate system. The incoming and outflowing radiation When looking specifically at proof supporting the current climate change, there are several ways to go - aside from data captured by these satellites. These include reports on extreme weather events, as well as temperature records and the disappearance of ice all around the world. These graphic and very physical pieces of evidence are chosen for their irrefutability and comprehensibility alike: no scientific background is needed to ‘understand’ the impact of ice caps collapsing before our very eyes. Melting ice caps are actually not just used to sensationalise climate change. Glaciers are some of the most sensitive indicators of climate change. They are in many aspects representative of the world’s energy budget: with the size depending on the balance between snow input and melt output. Hence, warming temperatures will cause glaciers to retreat - unless enough snow is ‘inputted’ to balance it out. Through a world glacier inventory, that also relies on satellites to track their size and location, scientists can get a clear picture of what is happening to this ‘glacier budget’ and, hence, with the world’s energy budget at large. And, spoiler alert, it hasn’t been looking good for the past decades, with significant shrinkages found all around the world. Further evidence of climate change can be found in the Arctic sea. Mostly covered in sea ice, it has seen a major decline in both the extent and the thickness. Through satellite images, we have been able to establish that each decade, some 13.2% of sea ice is disappearing.   Melting glaciers and sea ice are at the core of a whole other problem, being the rising of sea levels. This is another stable indicator of climate change’s progression, showing how the earth’s temperature correlates with sea levels. Through the dating of coral reefs, coastal sediments, marine terraces, limestones and nearshore archaeological remains, it is possible to establish the sea level for periods of which we roughly know the average global temperature. For instance, in the early Pliocene, global temperatures were some 1-2˚C warmer than they are today. Sea levels were also 15-25 meters higher than today, painting a relatively grim image for our future - especially for those living in coastal regions. Other indicators of climate change that are used today are changes in ice cores, cloud cover and precipitation, vegetation, forests, pollen and animals. Modern techniques will stop at nothing to figure out how climate change has influenced any of these in the past and thus predict what our future might look like if global temperatures are to rise even further. Climate forcing mechanisms Through such historical and empirical research, several factors have been identified that pretty much ‘shape’ our climate as they are capable of influencing the energy budget, that frail balance determinant of climate. These are referred to as climate forcing or ‘forcing mechanisms’. The way in which the five elements making up the climate system respond to such forcing mechanisms varies. This feedback can serve to amplify or diminish the initial ‘forcing’, either bringing along disruption or stabilisation of climate. Oceans and ice caps, for instance, are relatively slow in responding - whereas the atmosphere, biosphere and lithosphere can be much quicker to react.   For all of these elements, there is a certain threshold factor. Up until reaching that threshold, not much change will be noted - but this will change quickly upon passing it, setting major and often irreversible changes in motion. Forcing mechanisms can be internal or external and lead to a slow or fast response of the climate system: a volcanic eruption will lead to a sudden cooling, while the warming of ocean water will have a much longer ‘time to impact’. Internal forcing mechanisms Internal forcing mechanisms are the natural processes that opponents of the man-made theory often point at as the main culprit. These occur within the climate system itself - within one of the five elements that I mentioned earlier, to be exact. Any natural changes in one or several of these five elements might lead to internal ‘climate variability’, or natural climate change.   One example of such a forcing mechanism is a change in the type and distribution of species. Life, as it stands, affects climate through its role in the carbon and water cycles - or by triggering various other mechanisms such as:   cloud formation, to reflect sunlight evaporation and transpiration, from land and ocean surfaces to the atmosphere and weathering , or the breaking down of rocks, soils, wood and minerals   Evaporation and transpiration, from land and ocean surfaces to the atmosphere In the past, several instances have been noted where life was ultimately decisive in changes to the climate. We are talking about millions or even billions of years ago, where vascular land-plants, marine phytoplankton, or grass-grazers have been acting as the main culprit. Another example of an internal forcing mechanism is a change in ocean-atmosphere circulations. As it turns out, when the hydrosphere (oceans) and the atmosphere work together, pretty significant things can happen. Together, they can create spontaneous internal climate variabilities that can last for years - or even decades - on end.   This includes El Niño and his sister La Niña, both of which cause a periodically repeated reversal of the direction of movement, as well as the lesser known Pacific decadal oscillation and the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. All of these redistribute heat from the deep ocean to the atmosphere and/or alter the cloud/water vapor/sea ice distribution. This has a pretty profound impact on the earth’s energy budget. External forcing mechanisms External forcing mechanisms are those that are ‘out of the ordinary’, so not directly caused by the climate system itself. Even here, there might still be an element of natural causes - including changes in solar output, changes in the earth’s orbit, or volcanic eruptions. Some famous examples are the Milankovitch cycles or the Vostok ice core. A first example of external forcing mechanisms, solar output, has been a notorious contributor to climate change for centuries. There have been some pretty significant variations in solar activity, based on observations of sunspots and beryllium isotopes.   There was, for instance, a period of remarkably few sunspots in the late 17th century - the Maunder Minimum. And while some of those periods have been long term, others have been pretty short term. Either way, they have a big impact on global climate: the Maunder Minimum has been cited as one of the main triggers of the Little Ice Age that took place between 1550 and 1850 AD.   The exact effect of solar variability on global temperatures has not yet been firmly established, with a 2010 study by CERN suggesting that ‘ the effects of solar variability on temperature throughout the atmosphere may be contrary to current expectations. ’ Working on a theory outlining aerosol formation in the lower atmosphere, it may very well be that these are (partially) driven by human activities as well.   Milankovitch cycles A second example of external forcing mechanisms are the orbital variations of our planet. Even the slightest variations in the motion of our earth will change how much sunlight reaches the earth’s surface in particular areas during particular seasons. Such kinematic changes can stem from the tilt angle of the earth’s axis of rotation, the precession of earth’s axis, and changes in the earth’s eccentricity.   When you combine these three, so-called Milankovitch cycles are produced, that influence our climate to the extent that they have been linked to glacial and interglacial periods in the past, as well as the advance and retreat of the Sahara. Powerful effects of a relatively minor adjustment in our earth’s position. Thirdly, volcanic activity and plate tectonics have been known to be climate-changers as well. Some eruptions, those injecting at least 100,000 tons of SO2 into the stratosphere, have had a significant impact on our climate. SO2 and sulfate aerosols are responsible for the creation of a sulphuric acid haze, capable of absorbing and scattering solar radiation before it reaches the surface. This leads to a cooling effect that can last for several years. For instance, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 lowered global temperatures by an average of 0.5 °C for three whole years. Earlier, the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 has been documented to have caused the ‘year without a summer’. Yet, for comparison’s sake, the impact of volcanic eruptions does not even come near the effect of human emissions: humans generate some 100-300 times the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by volcanoes.   Anthropogenic mechanisms This leads to the next, obvious point. The majority of external forcing mechanisms are anthropogenic, or man-made. Most notably, it includes greenhouse gasses and dust particles in the atmosphere. The current scientific consensus is that our climate is changing in a largely irreversible manner, and that those changes are in large part caused by human activities. This is backed by a strong, credible body of evidence and runs through multiple lines of research. It is pointing at the increase in CO2 levels as the most concerning factor influencing climate change. Our earth’s atmosphere, commonly known as air, surrounds our planet and is one of the main players of the climate system. It should contain a large amount of nitrogen (78.09%), oxygen (20.95%), a small amount of argon (0.93%), and an even smaller amount of carbon dioxide (0.04%).   Now that carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is rising steadily, it is not hard to see how this can cause a misbalance in the atmosphere, setting in motion a potentially disastrous sequence of global warming. This increase in emissions is largely resulting from fossil fuel combustion, use of aerosols, and cement manufacturing. Although there are several other factors, including animal husbandry, deforestation and ozone depletion. All man-made or, at least, man-related issues. The IPCC has stated that human-caused global warming is driving climate changes that will impact both human and natural systems on all continents and across the oceans. A pretty definitive and clear statement that serves to remind us of the actual mechanism driving this particular wave of climate change that we are riding today. And, just in case it is not clear yet: this mechanism is us.   Thankfully, we are also the mechanism that could be used to avoid the worst consequence - if only we put our minds to it. The next article in this series will look at who is actually on board to take action and help us ride out this particularly worrisome climate wave. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Climate Change Natural Man Made: Causes and Facts is the first article in a series of 6 on the topic of climate change. Many in the world are looking at terrorism as one of the principal threats facing our planet today. Especially with the attention given to groups like ISIS expanding their sphere of influence in the Middle-East, it is not hard to understand why this instills such fear in mankind. Similarly, most of us will feel a certain sense of trepidation when the topic of North Korea is discussed. Yet others will underline the urgency of getting to a synchronised approach towards cyber-attacks, or wonder whether the typical great powers of Russia, the US and China are not getting too powerful.   Changing threats in a changing world All very valid issues that should be discussed at the highest levels of government and at the water cooler alike. Although in a surprising twist, you might not know what the top-ranking global issue threatening our world is. The one issue that is more urgent and more pressing than all of those mentioned above. The one that threatens our very existence. Climate change. Already in 2013, before the Paris Climate Agreement became a 'thing', 56% of countries questioned in an international survey indicated that global climate change would be a major threat to their country. This number rose to 63% in 2017, before reaching 67% one year later, in 2018.   Natural man made This first article in my series on climate change will discuss what, exactly, climate change entails. It summarises and reflects the commonly accepted scientific consensus on the systems that make and influence our climate, describing the immense complexity. Just to be perfectly clear: this article is not meant to point the finger at anyone. It is not taking a side in the debate of man made versus natural occurrence. The article is meant to explore the concept from the most objective standpoint possible. It will inevitably include words like ‘estimate’, ‘approximate’, ‘observed’, ‘hypotheses’, ‘models’ and ‘uncertainty’ - as those are the perfect representation of the complexity of the issue and the widely varying opinions on the topic.   Words are playing an important part as it is, as they form such an important part of how individuals look at climate change and perceive it. We experience climate change using our specific set of constructs and references. People might speak of their observations on a local level, citing their climate-related life experiences. Farmers use terminology that distinguishes between great and not so great seasons, linking that season’s weather to the related harvest yield. Scientists look at longer periods of time and distinguish trends on a larger scale. These perceptions all have one thing in common: they look at change.   What is climate change? Let’s just dive right in with the most significant question - that has proven to be the most difficult to answer. In a nutshell, climate change occurs when certain changes in our earth’s climate system lead to new weather patterns that last for at least a number of decades, although they could just as easily last for millions of years.   This definition is pretty much stone-clad, although it offers some definitions that are not as definitive. What does, after all, make up this climate system that is so determinant? Most will agree that our climate system is composed of five elements that interact with one another: Atmosphere , or the air around us Hydrosphere , or the water surrounding our continents Cryosphere , or the ice and permafrost covering our poles Biosphere , or all living things and beings Lithosphere , or the surface soils, rocks and sediments These elements rely on each other, which is why even subtle changes in one of them will have a big impact on the system as a whole. The system is ultimately powered by the sun, where it gets most of its energy from - with only a small portion taken from the earth’s interior. At the same time, the climate system ‘radiates’ energy as well, sending it off in outer space.   This balance of incoming and outgoing energy, combined with the way it passes through our climate system, makes up our earth’s energy budget. If there’s more energy incoming, we say that the earth has a positive energy budget - meaning that the climate system as a whole is warming. On the other hand, if there’s a greater outflow of energy, we have a negative energy budget, letting the earth experience a period of cooling. The incoming energy ‘flows’ through the climate system, being distributed around the globe by winds, ocean currents and other similar mechanisms. This results in what we know as the weather - as well as the long-term averages of weather, that we refer to as climate. Thus, it will not hold up if you refer to one bad summer as indicative of climate change - it will, though, if there are notable changes in the long term average. This, and only this, is what we refer to as climate change. Climate change : man made or natural Unfortunately, for all intents and purposes, 'climate change' has become the catch-all phrase for a vastly divergent group of concepts - including being used as a technical description of the process at hand as well as a noun that is used to describe the problem.   Consequently, both the terms ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’ are used interchangeably, now often being used to reflect man-made climate change (or global warming) in particular. This bias continues to exist even in popular scientific literature, making it harder to form a clear image of the actual problem. In order to avoid any confusion, this series of articles will utilise the most commonly accepted definition of climate change: a change in the statistical proporties of the climate system when considered over long periods of time, regardless of cause. This excludes weather evens like El Niño, that represent fluctuations over periods shorter than a few decades. Taking the explanation above into account, it will not be hard to see why these changes could partially result from the so-called ‘internal variability’, where the energy budget is altered by natural processes that make up our climate system, and partially by human activities. The carbon cycle, showing the movement of carbon between land, the atmosphere and the oceans. Yellow numbers are natural fluxes and red numbers are human contributions in gigatonnes of carbon per year. White numbers indicate stored carbon (The Carbon Cycle , NASA). History of climate change When looking into the causes and historical trends for climate change as a whole, to better understand both natural processes and human influence, researchers usually focus on evidence as preserved in typical climate proxies such as ice cores, ancient tree rings, geologic records of changes in sea level and glacial geology. Photo by: B.A.S. Dr E.C. Pasteur removing an ice core from the core barrel during drilling on an ice dome on Berkner Island. The collaborative drilling programme with the Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Bremerhaven, Germany recovered ice cores to study the climate and atmospheric conditions of the Weddell Sea region over the past millenium. These ‘time-capsules’ allow us to understand climate in a way we were unable to before. Before the 18th century, scientists were blissfully unaware of this thing called ‘climate’ and how earlier, prehistoric climates could be different from their own time period. Only towards the end of this century did they find evidence of changes in climate in geological ages long past, using the methods above. Through paleoclimatology, we try to study the changes in climate taken on the scale of the entire history of earth. Historical climatology, on the other hand, studies historical changes in climate and maps out the effect that they have had on human history and development. This heavily relies on the written word, hidden in sagas, chronicles, maps and literature; as well as on paintings, drawings or rock art to form an adequate picture of the past. It has been claimed that climate changes in the past are hiding in plain sight: driving changes in settlements and agricultural patterns, or even going so far as linking the rise and fall of various civilisations to significant climate events. Those have often been included in archaeological records, making it a silent witness (or perhaps even instigator) to many of the world’s biggest historical moments. Tracing climate change’s tracks Today, far less ‘guessing work’ is involved. We have satellites circling the earth that capture the incoming and outflowing radiation, making it relatively easy to track our energy budget - and with that, a significant portion of climate change. Such technological advances have only made it easier for us to deepen our research in the phenomenon, helping us to understand the working of our climate system. The incoming and outflowing radiation When looking specifically at proof supporting the current climate change, there are several ways to go - aside from data captured by these satellites. These include reports on extreme weather events, as well as temperature records and the disappearance of ice all around the world. These graphic and very physical pieces of evidence are chosen for their irrefutability and comprehensibility alike: no scientific background is needed to ‘understand’ the impact of ice caps collapsing before our very eyes. Melting ice caps are actually not just used to sensationalise climate change. Glaciers are some of the most sensitive indicators of climate change. They are in many aspects representative of the world’s energy budget: with the size depending on the balance between snow input and melt output. Hence, warming temperatures will cause glaciers to retreat - unless enough snow is ‘inputted’ to balance it out. Through a world glacier inventory, that also relies on satellites to track their size and location, scientists can get a clear picture of what is happening to this ‘glacier budget’ and, hence, with the world’s energy budget at large. And, spoiler alert, it hasn’t been looking good for the past decades, with significant shrinkages found all around the world. Further evidence of climate change can be found in the Arctic sea. Mostly covered in sea ice, it has seen a major decline in both the extent and the thickness. Through satellite images, we have been able to establish that each decade, some 13.2% of sea ice is disappearing.   Melting glaciers and sea ice are at the core of a whole other problem, being the rising of sea levels. This is another stable indicator of climate change’s progression, showing how the earth’s temperature correlates with sea levels. Through the dating of coral reefs, coastal sediments, marine terraces, limestones and nearshore archaeological remains, it is possible to establish the sea level for periods of which we roughly know the average global temperature. For instance, in the early Pliocene, global temperatures were some 1-2˚C warmer than they are today. Sea levels were also 15-25 meters higher than today, painting a relatively grim image for our future - especially for those living in coastal regions. Other indicators of climate change that are used today are changes in ice cores, cloud cover and precipitation, vegetation, forests, pollen and animals. Modern techniques will stop at nothing to figure out how climate change has influenced any of these in the past and thus predict what our future might look like if global temperatures are to rise even further. Climate forcing mechanisms Through such historical and empirical research, several factors have been identified that pretty much ‘shape’ our climate as they are capable of influencing the energy budget, that frail balance determinant of climate. These are referred to as climate forcing or ‘forcing mechanisms’. The way in which the five elements making up the climate system respond to such forcing mechanisms varies. This feedback can serve to amplify or diminish the initial ‘forcing’, either bringing along disruption or stabilisation of climate. Oceans and ice caps, for instance, are relatively slow in responding - whereas the atmosphere, biosphere and lithosphere can be much quicker to react.   For all of these elements, there is a certain threshold factor. Up until reaching that threshold, not much change will be noted - but this will change quickly upon passing it, setting major and often irreversible changes in motion. Forcing mechanisms can be internal or external and lead to a slow or fast response of the climate system: a volcanic eruption will lead to a sudden cooling, while the warming of ocean water will have a much longer ‘time to impact’. Internal forcing mechanisms Internal forcing mechanisms are the natural processes that opponents of the man-made theory often point at as the main culprit. These occur within the climate system itself - within one of the five elements that I mentioned earlier, to be exact. Any natural changes in one or several of these five elements might lead to internal ‘climate variability’, or natural climate change.   One example of such a forcing mechanism is a change in the type and distribution of species. Life, as it stands, affects climate through its role in the carbon and water cycles - or by triggering various other mechanisms such as:   cloud formation, to reflect sunlight evaporation and transpiration, from land and ocean surfaces to the atmosphere and weathering , or the breaking down of rocks, soils, wood and minerals   Evaporation and transpiration, from land and ocean surfaces to the atmosphere In the past, several instances have been noted where life was ultimately decisive in changes to the climate. We are talking about millions or even billions of years ago, where vascular land-plants, marine phytoplankton, or grass-grazers have been acting as the main culprit. Another example of an internal forcing mechanism is a change in ocean-atmosphere circulations. As it turns out, when the hydrosphere (oceans) and the atmosphere work together, pretty significant things can happen. Together, they can create spontaneous internal climate variabilities that can last for years - or even decades - on end.   This includes El Niño and his sister La Niña, both of which cause a periodically repeated reversal of the direction of movement, as well as the lesser known Pacific decadal oscillation and the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. All of these redistribute heat from the deep ocean to the atmosphere and/or alter the cloud/water vapor/sea ice distribution. This has a pretty profound impact on the earth’s energy budget. External forcing mechanisms External forcing mechanisms are those that are ‘out of the ordinary’, so not directly caused by the climate system itself. Even here, there might still be an element of natural causes - including changes in solar output, changes in the earth’s orbit, or volcanic eruptions. Some famous examples are the Milankovitch cycles or the Vostok ice core. A first example of external forcing mechanisms, solar output, has been a notorious contributor to climate change for centuries. There have been some pretty significant variations in solar activity, based on observations of sunspots and beryllium isotopes.   There was, for instance, a period of remarkably few sunspots in the late 17th century - the Maunder Minimum. And while some of those periods have been long term, others have been pretty short term. Either way, they have a big impact on global climate: the Maunder Minimum has been cited as one of the main triggers of the Little Ice Age that took place between 1550 and 1850 AD.   The exact effect of solar variability on global temperatures has not yet been firmly established, with a 2010 study by CERN suggesting that ‘ the effects of solar variability on temperature throughout the atmosphere may be contrary to current expectations. ’ Working on a theory outlining aerosol formation in the lower atmosphere, it may very well be that these are (partially) driven by human activities as well.   Milankovitch cycles A second example of external forcing mechanisms are the orbital variations of our planet. Even the slightest variations in the motion of our earth will change how much sunlight reaches the earth’s surface in particular areas during particular seasons. Such kinematic changes can stem from the tilt angle of the earth’s axis of rotation, the precession of earth’s axis, and changes in the earth’s eccentricity.   When you combine these three, so-called Milankovitch cycles are produced, that influence our climate to the extent that they have been linked to glacial and interglacial periods in the past, as well as the advance and retreat of the Sahara. Powerful effects of a relatively minor adjustment in our earth’s position. Thirdly, volcanic activity and plate tectonics have been known to be climate-changers as well. Some eruptions, those injecting at least 100,000 tons of SO2 into the stratosphere, have had a significant impact on our climate. SO2 and sulfate aerosols are responsible for the creation of a sulphuric acid haze, capable of absorbing and scattering solar radiation before it reaches the surface. This leads to a cooling effect that can last for several years. For instance, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 lowered global temperatures by an average of 0.5 °C for three whole years. Earlier, the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 has been documented to have caused the ‘year without a summer’. Yet, for comparison’s sake, the impact of volcanic eruptions does not even come near the effect of human emissions: humans generate some 100-300 times the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by volcanoes.   Anthropogenic mechanisms This leads to the next, obvious point. The majority of external forcing mechanisms are anthropogenic, or man-made. Most notably, it includes greenhouse gasses and dust particles in the atmosphere. The current scientific consensus is that our climate is changing in a largely irreversible manner, and that those changes are in large part caused by human activities. This is backed by a strong, credible body of evidence and runs through multiple lines of research. It is pointing at the increase in CO2 levels as the most concerning factor influencing climate change. Our earth’s atmosphere, commonly known as air, surrounds our planet and is one of the main players of the climate system. It should contain a large amount of nitrogen (78.09%), oxygen (20.95%), a small amount of argon (0.93%), and an even smaller amount of carbon dioxide (0.04%).   Now that carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is rising steadily, it is not hard to see how this can cause a misbalance in the atmosphere, setting in motion a potentially disastrous sequence of global warming. This increase in emissions is largely resulting from fossil fuel combustion, use of aerosols, and cement manufacturing. Although there are several other factors, including animal husbandry, deforestation and ozone depletion. All man-made or, at least, man-related issues. The IPCC has stated that human-caused global warming is driving climate changes that will impact both human and natural systems on all continents and across the oceans. A pretty definitive and clear statement that serves to remind us of the actual mechanism driving this particular wave of climate change that we are riding today. And, just in case it is not clear yet: this mechanism is us.   Thankfully, we are also the mechanism that could be used to avoid the worst consequence - if only we put our minds to it. The next article in this series will look at who is actually on board to take action and help us ride out this particularly worrisome climate wave. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Climate Change Natural Man Made: Causes And Facts
Climate Change Natural Man Made: Causes And Facts
Winston Churchill: Serving Lab-Meat In Restaurants Reality?
If you love food, as many of us do, you must have heard of the 'farm to fork' movement. This is a social movement which promotes serving local and fresh food at restaurants. However, are you familiar with 'lab to table'? And what do you think about that? ' Lab to table' does not sound as incredible as 'farm to fork', but it might be the solution for the future: zero animals are killed, but we create a mass production of lab-grown meat that looks and tastes the same as regular meat. Besides, lab-grown meat could also help the environment, because there is way less food waste in the process. Can we produce meat in labs? Is this how our future will be? A dream from the past The idea of lab-grown meat is not something of recent events but has been around since decades. It was actually Winston Churchill, who had the idea. He took a look at the culinary prognostication. Churchill thought that, within 50 years, we do not need to grow a whole chicken to only eat the breast or wing, and that can be accomplished by growing single parts on their own. The man was right. Of course, this is not something to do quickly, but the idea has been shaped. In 2013, the Dutch pharmacologist and Professor Mark Post of Vascular Physiology showed the first lab-grown burger. In the lab, he used animal cells, without actually killing an animal, as a food source. From that moment on, clean meat has taken interest from many people and entrepreneurs. Since then, many companies copied the idea and are working on the technology to make clean meat better, so they obtain a small number of animal cells from high-quality livestock animals to duplicate the taste, the texture, and the ability to efficiently self-renew. Benefits of Lab-grown meat Not everyone is looking forward to this process but let us mention the benefits of why we should go for lab-grown meat. First of all, many animals are poorly treated, they live in unfortunate circumstances, and we eat it in spite of how it is produced. Moreover, food waste also has a prominent role in this matter. We do not use every part of an animal, so lab-grown meat could grow some elements that we do eat. Livestock animals produce 15 per cent of global gas emissions, according to the United Nations. That is not the only problem; livestock animal production uses a large amount of water, while toxic substances used in agriculture can enter natural waters, destroying habitats, animals and plants in the process. According to Post, one of the most devastating consequences of livestock farming is massive deforestation. For example, around 70 per cent of the Amazon rainforest has already been deforested for grazing. The production of farmed meat is expected to consume 99 per cent less land so that areas could be reforested again. Also, the traditional meat production is very inefficient: it is unnecessarily expensive, unnecessarily damaging to the environment, causes unnecessary animal suffering and will in its present form be challenging to meet the growing human demand for meat.   Solving problems There are still some challenges we need to overcome. On the scientific front, challenges remain around the reproductive capacity of the used cells , and there must be a reducing difference between "clean meat" and "traditional meat". Then there is the issue of large-scale production systems, which costs a lot. And of course, how do you sell this kind of meat instead of the "real" ones? A consumer might not like it, because it is produced in labs and not by an animal. Organic food is much more appealing, but what do people think about eating protein that is grown in a laboratory? And it should be as affordable and tasty as its traditional meat counterpart. Scientists are aware of this problem but are confident to solve this. "It takes time", Post said. Does it help the environment? Researchers from the University of Oxford have the idea that lab-grown meat actually could be worse for the environment than livestock farming. There are a lot of uncertainties around the large-scale meat production, what it looks like and what it tastes like. Therefore, we need to invest in the production of large-scale meat production. This means we have to deal with physical effort and energy requirements to produce this lab-grown meat. So, we are still on the journey at the start of this new kind of meat. Are we eating lab-grown meat in the future? Yes, that could be the case. But for now, it is still in the future, because we have to overcome a lot of challenges. Do not think you can buy lab-grown meat in the supermarkets any day now. For now, plant-based alternatives are substitutes for lab-grown meat or traditional meat. In this plant-based alternative, you also find protein, an impressively accurate meat-like texture and taste. Just keep hoping and waiting and in the future, we will have plant-based and/or cell-based products, because they are more sustainable, efficient and way more humane. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/lifestyle  
If you love food, as many of us do, you must have heard of the 'farm to fork' movement. This is a social movement which promotes serving local and fresh food at restaurants. However, are you familiar with 'lab to table'? And what do you think about that? ' Lab to table' does not sound as incredible as 'farm to fork', but it might be the solution for the future: zero animals are killed, but we create a mass production of lab-grown meat that looks and tastes the same as regular meat. Besides, lab-grown meat could also help the environment, because there is way less food waste in the process. Can we produce meat in labs? Is this how our future will be? A dream from the past The idea of lab-grown meat is not something of recent events but has been around since decades. It was actually Winston Churchill, who had the idea. He took a look at the culinary prognostication. Churchill thought that, within 50 years, we do not need to grow a whole chicken to only eat the breast or wing, and that can be accomplished by growing single parts on their own. The man was right. Of course, this is not something to do quickly, but the idea has been shaped. In 2013, the Dutch pharmacologist and Professor Mark Post of Vascular Physiology showed the first lab-grown burger. In the lab, he used animal cells, without actually killing an animal, as a food source. From that moment on, clean meat has taken interest from many people and entrepreneurs. Since then, many companies copied the idea and are working on the technology to make clean meat better, so they obtain a small number of animal cells from high-quality livestock animals to duplicate the taste, the texture, and the ability to efficiently self-renew. Benefits of Lab-grown meat Not everyone is looking forward to this process but let us mention the benefits of why we should go for lab-grown meat. First of all, many animals are poorly treated, they live in unfortunate circumstances, and we eat it in spite of how it is produced. Moreover, food waste also has a prominent role in this matter. We do not use every part of an animal, so lab-grown meat could grow some elements that we do eat. Livestock animals produce 15 per cent of global gas emissions, according to the United Nations. That is not the only problem; livestock animal production uses a large amount of water, while toxic substances used in agriculture can enter natural waters, destroying habitats, animals and plants in the process. According to Post, one of the most devastating consequences of livestock farming is massive deforestation. For example, around 70 per cent of the Amazon rainforest has already been deforested for grazing. The production of farmed meat is expected to consume 99 per cent less land so that areas could be reforested again. Also, the traditional meat production is very inefficient: it is unnecessarily expensive, unnecessarily damaging to the environment, causes unnecessary animal suffering and will in its present form be challenging to meet the growing human demand for meat.   Solving problems There are still some challenges we need to overcome. On the scientific front, challenges remain around the reproductive capacity of the used cells , and there must be a reducing difference between "clean meat" and "traditional meat". Then there is the issue of large-scale production systems, which costs a lot. And of course, how do you sell this kind of meat instead of the "real" ones? A consumer might not like it, because it is produced in labs and not by an animal. Organic food is much more appealing, but what do people think about eating protein that is grown in a laboratory? And it should be as affordable and tasty as its traditional meat counterpart. Scientists are aware of this problem but are confident to solve this. "It takes time", Post said. Does it help the environment? Researchers from the University of Oxford have the idea that lab-grown meat actually could be worse for the environment than livestock farming. There are a lot of uncertainties around the large-scale meat production, what it looks like and what it tastes like. Therefore, we need to invest in the production of large-scale meat production. This means we have to deal with physical effort and energy requirements to produce this lab-grown meat. So, we are still on the journey at the start of this new kind of meat. Are we eating lab-grown meat in the future? Yes, that could be the case. But for now, it is still in the future, because we have to overcome a lot of challenges. Do not think you can buy lab-grown meat in the supermarkets any day now. For now, plant-based alternatives are substitutes for lab-grown meat or traditional meat. In this plant-based alternative, you also find protein, an impressively accurate meat-like texture and taste. Just keep hoping and waiting and in the future, we will have plant-based and/or cell-based products, because they are more sustainable, efficient and way more humane. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/lifestyle  
Winston Churchill: Serving Lab-Meat In Restaurants Reality?
Winston Churchill: Serving Lab-Meat In Restaurants Reality?
Asia’s Water War: China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam
Water is the reason for several imminent huge conflicts in our world. We have already paid attention to t he major water conflict between India and Pakistan and the approaching water war over the dam in the Nile between Egypt and Ethiopia . But the greatest threat of war over water is just around the corner: the rising hostility over the resources of the Mekong River can affect millions of people through natural disasters, famine and regional instability. This concerns China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. In this article you can read more about Asia's Water War. The Mekong River: the throbbing lifeline of Asia The Mekong River is incredibly important for millions of people in China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The river rises in the Tibetan Highlands of China, traverses the country, continues in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and finally flows into Vietnam: the Mekong Delta. The Mekong River is the vital lifeline for drinking water, electricity and food. Jeremy Luedi writes in his article for Under the Radar : 'Mekong is one of the world’s most productive inland fisheries, with an annual catch of some 2.6 million tonnes, valued at between $3.9 – 7 billion. 71% of rural Laotian households rely on subsistence fishing on the Mekong, and 1.2 million Cambodians are almost entirely dependent on Tonle Sap Lake, Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake that connects to the mighty river'. You probably already knew that Vietnam is one of the largest rice producers in the world: this position is also due to the river. The Mekong Delta, the area in southern Vietnam where the river flows into the South China Sea, helps feed millions of people and put Vietnam on the map as an important rice exporter. China, the biggest threat for the downstream countries So there is no doubt about the importance of the Mekong River for the different countries through which it flows. And where water is important, there is also a fuss about ownership: every country complains about the use of the Mekong River by their upstream neighbours. There is a reason for this, because Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam have all built dams on the Mekong River - also to stimulate the progress of industrialization, which is of course very important for the countries. The more industry, the more the countries are bickering about the Mekong River. Vietnam seems to have the most reason to worry as the last country and the place where the Mekong River flows into the South China Sea, Vietnam also has the most cause for concern. But the country where everyone should be most concerned is China, according to Under the Radar ‘the biggest threat to them all’. China has the most power over the Mekong River: the river rises in the Tibetan highlands. And power over the Mekong means power over the downstream countries. The Mekong River is also of great importance for China: it has accelerated China's industrialization and helps China realize its ambition for clean energy. Hydropower is one of the largest energy sources in this country - and even more hydroelectric potential can be gained. Under the Radar sorted it out and writes: 'the estimated energy potential of the Upper Mekong Basin is almost 29,000 MW – more than the world’s largest power station, the Three Gorges Dam: the Lower Basin’s potential exceeds 30,000 MW'. Chinese construction projects The various dams that China has built to use the Mekong River to their advantage are of concern to the undercurrent countries. The water levels are falling, and China has the possibility to store up to 28% of the annual flow of the Mekong on the Chinese border. However, an even bigger problem is the major ecological problems that China and the other countries are facing because of the construction projects for the dams that the countries are building - just like not switching to renewable energy. The problems are piling up: Vietnam suffers from both droughts and floods: Under the Radar investigated that by 2100 it is expected that half of the Mekong Delta in this country will be submerged, which has enormous consequences for the country. China does help Vietnam in this situation, after petitioning to release water to combat droughts, China opened the Jinghong hydroelectric power plant for a month, but Being attributes the water shortage to natural causes only. “In order to help those countries cope with the drought, the Chinese government decided to surmount the difficulties it faces and do its utmost to help,” says foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang to Under the Radar. That all seems good, but it is true that Chinese construction projects are one of the main causes of the problems. The Mekong Delta could disappear China needs sand: according to the shocking figures of Under the Rader, China has used more concrete in the last five years than the United States in the entire twentieth century. The only question is: where should the sand come from? Sand extraction along the Yangtze River is already prohibited, but illegal sand extraction is a serious problem. The enormous damage to the Yangtze is not a warning enough, because certain parts of the Mekong river can still be used. The downstream countries are also concerned with unsustainable sand extraction, which only complicates the problem. Less and less sediment is reaching the end of the Mekong in Vietnam, which will ultimately mean that the Mekong Delta will disappear in the face of oceanic erosion. Overlapping organizations The biggest danger for the most downstream countries is the Chinese uncertainty about water. As a result of population growth and industrialization, freshwater availability per person is far below the global average. If there is a threat of water shortage, China can increasingly drain water to save its own population, endangering people from other countries. And these countries cannot do much about it. Under the Rader writes: 'said countries would also not have any means of recourse should China increasingly monopolize the Mekong’s water, save for international arbitration. China’s dismissive attitude towards international bodies it disagrees with – such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea – effectively leaves regional organizations as the last available forum.'. t's just that China has a lot of influence because many organizations overlap - the Lancang-Mekong cooperation mechanism (LMCM) is heavily sponsored by the country, for example. Also, there is less American aid in Cambodia, for example, by the Trump government and China nowadays has more influence than Vietnam in Laos, to name a few issues. A hard time for Beijng China seems to have all the power over the Mekong River, yet Beijng is not having an easy time: local NGOs and citizens are protesting against the establishment of the shipping route One Belt, One Road. Operation Mekong, about the Mekong River Massacre, where thirteen crew members were brutally murdered, raised $ 173 million. All kinds of nasty events have taken place, such as the death of Chinese civilians during an alleged bomb explosion and the shooting of a Chinese worker in Laos. Something must be done to keep the peace around the Mekong River. The question is: will China intervene before it is too late?
Water is the reason for several imminent huge conflicts in our world. We have already paid attention to t he major water conflict between India and Pakistan and the approaching water war over the dam in the Nile between Egypt and Ethiopia . But the greatest threat of war over water is just around the corner: the rising hostility over the resources of the Mekong River can affect millions of people through natural disasters, famine and regional instability. This concerns China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. In this article you can read more about Asia's Water War. The Mekong River: the throbbing lifeline of Asia The Mekong River is incredibly important for millions of people in China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The river rises in the Tibetan Highlands of China, traverses the country, continues in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and finally flows into Vietnam: the Mekong Delta. The Mekong River is the vital lifeline for drinking water, electricity and food. Jeremy Luedi writes in his article for Under the Radar : 'Mekong is one of the world’s most productive inland fisheries, with an annual catch of some 2.6 million tonnes, valued at between $3.9 – 7 billion. 71% of rural Laotian households rely on subsistence fishing on the Mekong, and 1.2 million Cambodians are almost entirely dependent on Tonle Sap Lake, Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake that connects to the mighty river'. You probably already knew that Vietnam is one of the largest rice producers in the world: this position is also due to the river. The Mekong Delta, the area in southern Vietnam where the river flows into the South China Sea, helps feed millions of people and put Vietnam on the map as an important rice exporter. China, the biggest threat for the downstream countries So there is no doubt about the importance of the Mekong River for the different countries through which it flows. And where water is important, there is also a fuss about ownership: every country complains about the use of the Mekong River by their upstream neighbours. There is a reason for this, because Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam have all built dams on the Mekong River - also to stimulate the progress of industrialization, which is of course very important for the countries. The more industry, the more the countries are bickering about the Mekong River. Vietnam seems to have the most reason to worry as the last country and the place where the Mekong River flows into the South China Sea, Vietnam also has the most cause for concern. But the country where everyone should be most concerned is China, according to Under the Radar ‘the biggest threat to them all’. China has the most power over the Mekong River: the river rises in the Tibetan highlands. And power over the Mekong means power over the downstream countries. The Mekong River is also of great importance for China: it has accelerated China's industrialization and helps China realize its ambition for clean energy. Hydropower is one of the largest energy sources in this country - and even more hydroelectric potential can be gained. Under the Radar sorted it out and writes: 'the estimated energy potential of the Upper Mekong Basin is almost 29,000 MW – more than the world’s largest power station, the Three Gorges Dam: the Lower Basin’s potential exceeds 30,000 MW'. Chinese construction projects The various dams that China has built to use the Mekong River to their advantage are of concern to the undercurrent countries. The water levels are falling, and China has the possibility to store up to 28% of the annual flow of the Mekong on the Chinese border. However, an even bigger problem is the major ecological problems that China and the other countries are facing because of the construction projects for the dams that the countries are building - just like not switching to renewable energy. The problems are piling up: Vietnam suffers from both droughts and floods: Under the Radar investigated that by 2100 it is expected that half of the Mekong Delta in this country will be submerged, which has enormous consequences for the country. China does help Vietnam in this situation, after petitioning to release water to combat droughts, China opened the Jinghong hydroelectric power plant for a month, but Being attributes the water shortage to natural causes only. “In order to help those countries cope with the drought, the Chinese government decided to surmount the difficulties it faces and do its utmost to help,” says foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang to Under the Radar. That all seems good, but it is true that Chinese construction projects are one of the main causes of the problems. The Mekong Delta could disappear China needs sand: according to the shocking figures of Under the Rader, China has used more concrete in the last five years than the United States in the entire twentieth century. The only question is: where should the sand come from? Sand extraction along the Yangtze River is already prohibited, but illegal sand extraction is a serious problem. The enormous damage to the Yangtze is not a warning enough, because certain parts of the Mekong river can still be used. The downstream countries are also concerned with unsustainable sand extraction, which only complicates the problem. Less and less sediment is reaching the end of the Mekong in Vietnam, which will ultimately mean that the Mekong Delta will disappear in the face of oceanic erosion. Overlapping organizations The biggest danger for the most downstream countries is the Chinese uncertainty about water. As a result of population growth and industrialization, freshwater availability per person is far below the global average. If there is a threat of water shortage, China can increasingly drain water to save its own population, endangering people from other countries. And these countries cannot do much about it. Under the Rader writes: 'said countries would also not have any means of recourse should China increasingly monopolize the Mekong’s water, save for international arbitration. China’s dismissive attitude towards international bodies it disagrees with – such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea – effectively leaves regional organizations as the last available forum.'. t's just that China has a lot of influence because many organizations overlap - the Lancang-Mekong cooperation mechanism (LMCM) is heavily sponsored by the country, for example. Also, there is less American aid in Cambodia, for example, by the Trump government and China nowadays has more influence than Vietnam in Laos, to name a few issues. A hard time for Beijng China seems to have all the power over the Mekong River, yet Beijng is not having an easy time: local NGOs and citizens are protesting against the establishment of the shipping route One Belt, One Road. Operation Mekong, about the Mekong River Massacre, where thirteen crew members were brutally murdered, raised $ 173 million. All kinds of nasty events have taken place, such as the death of Chinese civilians during an alleged bomb explosion and the shooting of a Chinese worker in Laos. Something must be done to keep the peace around the Mekong River. The question is: will China intervene before it is too late?
Asia’s Water War: China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam
Asia’s Water War: China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam
Regenerative Agriculture: Its Full Potential (Part 3 of 3)
Once upon a time, the majority of land on our planet was covered with trees and forests. Undoubtedly a gorgeous view - and a perfect habitat for many of the plant and animal species that live on our planet. Unfortunately the number of forests have dwindled significantly over the past decades, most notably as the result of the ever increasing use of forestland for agricultural purposes. After having served its purpose, the land will once again be abandoned and quite literally left to waste. Agriculture our food source Back in the pre-industrial age, estimates were that some 5.9 billion hectares of our planet’s surface was covered by forest. This number has decreased significantly, down to a mere 4 billion hectare (still making up 31% of the world’s land surface) in recent years. And the rate with which it is declining is alarming: an area roughly the size of Greece goes to waste every year, putting more and more treasured land at risk.   Especially now that the world population seems to be booming, we need more space - both for living and for growing our food - and the forest seems the most logical place to take it away from. Only now are we starting to realise that this logical choice has definitely not been the cleverest one: trees have rightfully earned their spot as ‘lungs of the world’, capable of absorbing CO2 and emitting oxygen. At this time, they are the best medicine against global warming that we’ve got. Simultaneously, we have resorted to using land as a disposable product. Once it has been plundered for its use in agriculture, we leave it to be and move on to the next piece. Eventually, this will exhaust our most important food source, passing on an enormous problem to future mankind. Regenerative agriculture, agrofostry, biodiversity Enter agroforestry, another example of regenerative agriculture; a topic that I already dedicated two articles to. Regenerative agriculture is a set of systems that focus on providing plants with the proper micro-climatic conditions and ecosystem to thrive, rather than just with water, soil and fertiliser for the duration of the activities. It combines both food and non-food plants, along with the right micro-organisms and animals needed to let an ecosystem suitable for this particular environment and climate thrive. Such a biodiverse system has a lot of benefits: as it has proven to be more productive, versatile and weather-resistant. Each species of plants that is planted brings its own unique benefits to the table. Some provide nitrogen-fixing for higher fertility; others soil carbon to feed micro-organisms and prevent erosion and retain water; fruit and vegetable plants are used to generate revenue and lure animals, who are capable of pollinating and cycling nutrients. Taller, leafier plant species are great at providing much needed shade. Each species has its own role to play in the ‘larger whole’. This system forms the backbone of regenerative agriculture, where agriculture does not directly interfere with the quality of land - or if it does, only serves to improve the quality of the land. And although agriculture will always remain a man-managed process, the principles of ecological succession can be ‘planned’, just to use another management term.   Through careful analysis of similar ecosystems, the sequence of plant species could be duplicated - the same way that the ecosystem would restore itself after a wildfire, if left to its own devices. Only after truly ‘understanding’ Mother Nature’s ways will it be possible to mimic her ways of creating fertile land; particularly when it comes to land that has previously been exhausted and consequently abandoned. One of the most important activities in regenerative agriculture is constant pruning. It may seem redundant, but the importance of frequently grooming the plants cannot be overstated. Through pruning, the amount of soil carbon will increase; while more sun will be able to reach lower plants. Sometimes it really is as simple as listening to the nature and taking good care of her. In order to do so, a crucial element is needed: freshwater, unfortunately a resource that is becoming increasingly scarce. It currently makes up some 2.5% of the total water supply on our planet; while we - and in particular, the agricultural sector - need more and more of it. As this seems inherently incongruent, it would be valuable to explore ways of, indeed, regenerating water. What if we could use, say, sea water for agricultural purposes instead? It would guarantee sufficient water for agriculture while not depleting the freshwater supply. This too is a part of regenerative agriculture, finding ways of growing crops using alternative sources of water. With the world’s population projected to increase exponentially in decades to come, even the most conservative estimates foresee an uptake in food demand of up to 60% compared to the current day. We simply cannot figure this out without discounting the need for new water sources. There are actually some plant and animal species that really do well in a saltwater environment. Now it could be as simple as creating specialised (shell)fish or saltwater crops farms in coastal areas. Although it can also be taken to a whole new level, for instance by using it in a desert area. Take Carl Hodges, a physicist who turned a large area of Eritrean desert into a thriving oasis. He focused on various activities that did well using seawater, and figured out the optimal flow of water - to ensure that each activity would get the most suitable water. Long story short, the seawater was first used for his shrimp and prawn-growing farms; after which that water was re-used for a tilapia farm (where the tilapia would partially serve as feed for the shrimp, talking about the circle of life). After that, water would flow to a salicornia plantation and run through a mangrove forest. Eventually it would flow to a wetland. Each of those stages came with specific species that would thrive using such water in such an environment - which explains why Hodges’ farm was a success.   Eventually, that is always what it is about. Success, preferably measured in money or time saved. The more industrialised approach has been adequate in the past, enabling neat monoculture rows powered by chemicals to produce plenty of food in as little time as possible. Yet the number of chemicals needed to sustain the increasing demand is rising sharply, just as we are fully starting to recognise the damage that those materials are causing to the environment, degrading ecosystems and - with it - the fertility and diversity of land.   Regenerative agriculture does also promise similarly high yields in an equally short time; but without those negative side effects. This focus on both profit and planet gives it a tremendous potential for not only transforming, but also revolutionising the agricultural industry. There are numerous examples of farmers who have already successfully employed this set of techniques to come out on top, with yields and profits searing.   Yet the other benefits should not be discounted either. After all, it is a systemic solution that will boost ecosystems, increase resilience, and help fight climate change . And while some may argue that it will be inherently harder to implement such a radical idea, the fact that it tackles so many issues at once should just about make it worth it. I will not try to pretend that it will be easy to implement on a larger scale, in order to let it reach its full potential. Regenerative agriculture thrives on natural processes, and these can be somewhat tedious. In order to help the soil contain a sufficient amount of microbes, one will have to wait several seasons for it to evolve. It may even take up to (several) decades before the land is truly ready to live up to its full potential. At the same time, this process will require not only a radically different style of working - mindset, if you wish -; it may also require new equipment and devices, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the new processes. This is where the government and financial industry comes in. Through their support, some of the risks associated with this transformation can be mitigated. This includes the offering of subsidies, special insurances, training and other incentives that will make the switch more appealing. Simultaneously, new monitoring systems and checks will have to be installed that are capable of gauging the current status of the process. It is important to verify whether a farm is indeed on the right track, or needs more adjusting in order to fully ‘tune in’ to its surrounding ecosystem. At the same time, this can be looked upon as another major opportunity for the market, as more tools will have to be developed that are suitable for regenerative agriculture. There is a huge ‘blue ocean’ out there in the market, that may be easy to jump into. One simply has to understand the importance - and be ingrained with a deep appreciation of - the proven connection between growing healthy food in a healthy ecosystem, clean air and clean water, overall human well-being, and more resilience in surrounding communities that depend on those farms for their livelihood. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/agri-gardening
Once upon a time, the majority of land on our planet was covered with trees and forests. Undoubtedly a gorgeous view - and a perfect habitat for many of the plant and animal species that live on our planet. Unfortunately the number of forests have dwindled significantly over the past decades, most notably as the result of the ever increasing use of forestland for agricultural purposes. After having served its purpose, the land will once again be abandoned and quite literally left to waste. Agriculture our food source Back in the pre-industrial age, estimates were that some 5.9 billion hectares of our planet’s surface was covered by forest. This number has decreased significantly, down to a mere 4 billion hectare (still making up 31% of the world’s land surface) in recent years. And the rate with which it is declining is alarming: an area roughly the size of Greece goes to waste every year, putting more and more treasured land at risk.   Especially now that the world population seems to be booming, we need more space - both for living and for growing our food - and the forest seems the most logical place to take it away from. Only now are we starting to realise that this logical choice has definitely not been the cleverest one: trees have rightfully earned their spot as ‘lungs of the world’, capable of absorbing CO2 and emitting oxygen. At this time, they are the best medicine against global warming that we’ve got. Simultaneously, we have resorted to using land as a disposable product. Once it has been plundered for its use in agriculture, we leave it to be and move on to the next piece. Eventually, this will exhaust our most important food source, passing on an enormous problem to future mankind. Regenerative agriculture, agrofostry, biodiversity Enter agroforestry, another example of regenerative agriculture; a topic that I already dedicated two articles to. Regenerative agriculture is a set of systems that focus on providing plants with the proper micro-climatic conditions and ecosystem to thrive, rather than just with water, soil and fertiliser for the duration of the activities. It combines both food and non-food plants, along with the right micro-organisms and animals needed to let an ecosystem suitable for this particular environment and climate thrive. Such a biodiverse system has a lot of benefits: as it has proven to be more productive, versatile and weather-resistant. Each species of plants that is planted brings its own unique benefits to the table. Some provide nitrogen-fixing for higher fertility; others soil carbon to feed micro-organisms and prevent erosion and retain water; fruit and vegetable plants are used to generate revenue and lure animals, who are capable of pollinating and cycling nutrients. Taller, leafier plant species are great at providing much needed shade. Each species has its own role to play in the ‘larger whole’. This system forms the backbone of regenerative agriculture, where agriculture does not directly interfere with the quality of land - or if it does, only serves to improve the quality of the land. And although agriculture will always remain a man-managed process, the principles of ecological succession can be ‘planned’, just to use another management term.   Through careful analysis of similar ecosystems, the sequence of plant species could be duplicated - the same way that the ecosystem would restore itself after a wildfire, if left to its own devices. Only after truly ‘understanding’ Mother Nature’s ways will it be possible to mimic her ways of creating fertile land; particularly when it comes to land that has previously been exhausted and consequently abandoned. One of the most important activities in regenerative agriculture is constant pruning. It may seem redundant, but the importance of frequently grooming the plants cannot be overstated. Through pruning, the amount of soil carbon will increase; while more sun will be able to reach lower plants. Sometimes it really is as simple as listening to the nature and taking good care of her. In order to do so, a crucial element is needed: freshwater, unfortunately a resource that is becoming increasingly scarce. It currently makes up some 2.5% of the total water supply on our planet; while we - and in particular, the agricultural sector - need more and more of it. As this seems inherently incongruent, it would be valuable to explore ways of, indeed, regenerating water. What if we could use, say, sea water for agricultural purposes instead? It would guarantee sufficient water for agriculture while not depleting the freshwater supply. This too is a part of regenerative agriculture, finding ways of growing crops using alternative sources of water. With the world’s population projected to increase exponentially in decades to come, even the most conservative estimates foresee an uptake in food demand of up to 60% compared to the current day. We simply cannot figure this out without discounting the need for new water sources. There are actually some plant and animal species that really do well in a saltwater environment. Now it could be as simple as creating specialised (shell)fish or saltwater crops farms in coastal areas. Although it can also be taken to a whole new level, for instance by using it in a desert area. Take Carl Hodges, a physicist who turned a large area of Eritrean desert into a thriving oasis. He focused on various activities that did well using seawater, and figured out the optimal flow of water - to ensure that each activity would get the most suitable water. Long story short, the seawater was first used for his shrimp and prawn-growing farms; after which that water was re-used for a tilapia farm (where the tilapia would partially serve as feed for the shrimp, talking about the circle of life). After that, water would flow to a salicornia plantation and run through a mangrove forest. Eventually it would flow to a wetland. Each of those stages came with specific species that would thrive using such water in such an environment - which explains why Hodges’ farm was a success.   Eventually, that is always what it is about. Success, preferably measured in money or time saved. The more industrialised approach has been adequate in the past, enabling neat monoculture rows powered by chemicals to produce plenty of food in as little time as possible. Yet the number of chemicals needed to sustain the increasing demand is rising sharply, just as we are fully starting to recognise the damage that those materials are causing to the environment, degrading ecosystems and - with it - the fertility and diversity of land.   Regenerative agriculture does also promise similarly high yields in an equally short time; but without those negative side effects. This focus on both profit and planet gives it a tremendous potential for not only transforming, but also revolutionising the agricultural industry. There are numerous examples of farmers who have already successfully employed this set of techniques to come out on top, with yields and profits searing.   Yet the other benefits should not be discounted either. After all, it is a systemic solution that will boost ecosystems, increase resilience, and help fight climate change . And while some may argue that it will be inherently harder to implement such a radical idea, the fact that it tackles so many issues at once should just about make it worth it. I will not try to pretend that it will be easy to implement on a larger scale, in order to let it reach its full potential. Regenerative agriculture thrives on natural processes, and these can be somewhat tedious. In order to help the soil contain a sufficient amount of microbes, one will have to wait several seasons for it to evolve. It may even take up to (several) decades before the land is truly ready to live up to its full potential. At the same time, this process will require not only a radically different style of working - mindset, if you wish -; it may also require new equipment and devices, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the new processes. This is where the government and financial industry comes in. Through their support, some of the risks associated with this transformation can be mitigated. This includes the offering of subsidies, special insurances, training and other incentives that will make the switch more appealing. Simultaneously, new monitoring systems and checks will have to be installed that are capable of gauging the current status of the process. It is important to verify whether a farm is indeed on the right track, or needs more adjusting in order to fully ‘tune in’ to its surrounding ecosystem. At the same time, this can be looked upon as another major opportunity for the market, as more tools will have to be developed that are suitable for regenerative agriculture. There is a huge ‘blue ocean’ out there in the market, that may be easy to jump into. One simply has to understand the importance - and be ingrained with a deep appreciation of - the proven connection between growing healthy food in a healthy ecosystem, clean air and clean water, overall human well-being, and more resilience in surrounding communities that depend on those farms for their livelihood. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/agri-gardening
Regenerative Agriculture: Its Full Potential (Part 3 of 3)
Regenerative Agriculture: Its Full Potential (Part 3 of 3)
Solar Collector Produces Bio Fuels And Saves The Planet: MIT
The brainchild of Harvard biochemist Daniel Nocera, the ‘bionic leaf’ is a small man-made solar collector that takes sunlight and water and turns it into any of a variety of usable fuels or fertilizers. Nocera’s first iteration, the so-called ‘artificial leaf’, was developed in 2011 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and could split water into oxygen and hydrogen when exposed to sunlight in a process similar to (and inspired by) Mother Nature’s photosynthesis. Bionic Leaves and the Environment . Can they save the planet? Nocera soon thereafter moved his lab to Harvard and teamed up with Pamela Silver there to create the 'bionic' version which takes the concept further. There they fed the resulting hydrogen to an on-board catalyst, resulting in the generation of immediately useable downstream liquid ‘fuels’ such as fertilizer for farms, isobutanol to run generators and engines, and PHB, a precursor for bio-plastic. The team’s first version of the ‘bionic’ leaf was about as efficient as natural photosynthesis, which is about one percent of the solar energy flowing in came out as biomass dense enough to use as fuel. But their most recent version ups the ante considerably, clocking in at 10 times more efficient than Mother Nature’s fastest growing plants. Graph by: BlueRingMedia. Photosynthesis, carbon dioxide and water are transformed into sugars and oxygen. Sunlight powers this chemical reaction “If you think about it, photosynthesis is amazing,” Nocera tells the Harvard Gazette. “It takes sunlight, water, and air, and then look at a tree. That’s exactly what we did, but we do it significantly better because we turn all that energy into a fuel.” When mass-produced, these tiny solar ‘carbon-negative’ fuel factories could be inexpensive enough for everyday people to use to power their vehicles and run their lights and appliances. Maybe you also like: Geothermal Power Accessible As Wind And Solar Energy: Climeon Farmers with a small on-site array of bionic leaves could create enough fertilizer for their own needs instead of buying container-loads of synthetic fertilizer produced at sprawling CO2-spewing factories and shipped for thousands of miles. The widespread application of bionic leaves could be especially advantageous in developing countries (and remote areas in general) where access to conventional fuels and fertilizers is limited and expensive or non-existent. Nocera hopes his work can bring the poor of the world their ‘first 100 watts’ of energy through one form or another of the technologies he is developing. A Harvard-funded pilot program putting bionic leaves to use in India is just getting off the ground and Nocera hopes to expand globally within the near future. The vision is for retiring every fossil fuel out there and replacing them with solar fuels from your own ‘bionic’ garden. Imagine a world with no more utility bills or lining up at the gas pump? “You can use just sunlight, air, and water,” concludes Nocera, “and you can do it in your backyard.” https://www.whatsorb.com/category/energy
The brainchild of Harvard biochemist Daniel Nocera, the ‘bionic leaf’ is a small man-made solar collector that takes sunlight and water and turns it into any of a variety of usable fuels or fertilizers. Nocera’s first iteration, the so-called ‘artificial leaf’, was developed in 2011 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and could split water into oxygen and hydrogen when exposed to sunlight in a process similar to (and inspired by) Mother Nature’s photosynthesis. Bionic Leaves and the Environment . Can they save the planet? Nocera soon thereafter moved his lab to Harvard and teamed up with Pamela Silver there to create the 'bionic' version which takes the concept further. There they fed the resulting hydrogen to an on-board catalyst, resulting in the generation of immediately useable downstream liquid ‘fuels’ such as fertilizer for farms, isobutanol to run generators and engines, and PHB, a precursor for bio-plastic. The team’s first version of the ‘bionic’ leaf was about as efficient as natural photosynthesis, which is about one percent of the solar energy flowing in came out as biomass dense enough to use as fuel. But their most recent version ups the ante considerably, clocking in at 10 times more efficient than Mother Nature’s fastest growing plants. Graph by: BlueRingMedia. Photosynthesis, carbon dioxide and water are transformed into sugars and oxygen. Sunlight powers this chemical reaction “If you think about it, photosynthesis is amazing,” Nocera tells the Harvard Gazette. “It takes sunlight, water, and air, and then look at a tree. That’s exactly what we did, but we do it significantly better because we turn all that energy into a fuel.” When mass-produced, these tiny solar ‘carbon-negative’ fuel factories could be inexpensive enough for everyday people to use to power their vehicles and run their lights and appliances. Maybe you also like: Geothermal Power Accessible As Wind And Solar Energy: Climeon Farmers with a small on-site array of bionic leaves could create enough fertilizer for their own needs instead of buying container-loads of synthetic fertilizer produced at sprawling CO2-spewing factories and shipped for thousands of miles. The widespread application of bionic leaves could be especially advantageous in developing countries (and remote areas in general) where access to conventional fuels and fertilizers is limited and expensive or non-existent. Nocera hopes his work can bring the poor of the world their ‘first 100 watts’ of energy through one form or another of the technologies he is developing. A Harvard-funded pilot program putting bionic leaves to use in India is just getting off the ground and Nocera hopes to expand globally within the near future. The vision is for retiring every fossil fuel out there and replacing them with solar fuels from your own ‘bionic’ garden. Imagine a world with no more utility bills or lining up at the gas pump? “You can use just sunlight, air, and water,” concludes Nocera, “and you can do it in your backyard.” https://www.whatsorb.com/category/energy
Solar Collector Produces Bio Fuels And Saves The Planet: MIT
Fossil Fuel Will Dominate Energy Use Through 2050: Globally
Very few topics are garnering as much attention in the context of initiatives to combat global warming as clean energy. And the signs are definitely promising. Renewable energy initiatives are popping up left and right, using pretty much all of the ‘clean’ elements that our earth has to offer - from wind, water and sun to the breeze generated by the London Underground. Some Scandinavian countries are ambitiously agreeing on targets to have all of their country’s energy use be derived from renewable sources, while corporations and institutions left and right are pledging to reduce their fossil fuel production and/or use drastically, in favour of more sustainable alternatives. Climate neutral countries Although those who take the time to read the ‘finer print’ on those pledges will be quick to find out that this is far from straightforward. In fact, Sweden - the first nation to become fossil-fuel free, if all goes well - has given itself a somewhat lengthy timeline: the goal is to be climate neutral by 2045, and fossil-fuel free by the time 2050 rolls around. Let’s digest that for a second. That is still more than 3 decades away - decades that are, if we are to believe the scientists, decisive for the future of mankind and, by extension, our planet. And this is one of the world’s most progressive, innovative countries talking, who already rely heavily on renewable energy sources.   If they, who already generate more than half of their energy needs from renewable sources today, need thirty-something years to ‘turn the tide’, so to speak… Well, one can only guess how much time other nations, still heavily dependant upon their coal and other ‘dirty’ energy sources, will need to do the same. Multi-faceted problem Admittedly, the problem at hand is complicated. This is not something that is ‘easily solved’, nor is there a ‘quick fix’. Actually, we’ve gotten to this stage because of two undeniable trends.   First, the global demand for energy continues to grow - albeit at a slightly lower rate than before, for reasons I’ll get into later. Fact remains that the world’s population is still growing and welfare is on the rise, meaning that more people will be connected to power than ever before. This growing demand puts an enormous strain on producers to deliver more energy, preferably at a lower cost. At a first glance, it sounds like good news that the growth in demand is slowing somewhat. The slowing population growth and economic growth are a large part of this trend - combined with more digitisation and a greater energy efficiency. People tend to be more conscious about the use of energy, while digitisation can replace certain travel or production needs.   Rise of renewable sources So far, so good - while we still require more energy year after year, the slower growth is allowing production to catch up with it in the next decades. Secondly, there’s a significant difference in the growth rate between demand for electricity and demand for transport - which has historically been the largest energy user. Instead, the need for electricity will be making up a quarter of the total energy demand of the world by 2050, compared to 18 percent today. This means that new renewable sources will have to be used more, mainly wind and solar - alongside the wide range of renewable fuel options like hydrogen used for transport purposes. The share of wind and solar power is, in fact, expected to grow up to five times faster than any other source of power. Non-hydro renewables will, by 2050, make up more than a third of the global power generated. Once again, a positive trend, pointing at a growing reliance on renewable sources instead of fossil fuels. 2050 on the horizon There is a painful little side note, though. ‘2050’ keeps on popping up, as a far-away target that most of us will be happy to work towards; yet that is far away enough to be brushed off when deemed inconvenient. Because the main issue seems obvious: the world needs more energy. And for the time being, demand still far exceeds sustainable supply, meaning that something - in this case fossil fuels - is required to bridge the gap.   This leads to another undeniable conclusion, being that fossil fuels are likely to dominate the global energy market for decades to come - at least until we get to 2050. Producers and corporations are quick to reason it away, by stating that massive investments have already been made. And because of the reliability of and heavy dependance upon this energy source, the market is hesitant to abruptly move away to much newer sources. Time is running out Yet the world needs more than ‘we will get rid of fossil fuels around 2050’. The cold hard truth is that the emission of energy-related greenhouse gasses will continue to rise over the next decades, up to a growth of some 14 percent by 2040. This is definitely not helping us in limiting the warming of our planet to two degrees; the critical threshold as set by experts.   And yes, eventually those emissions will level off and drop - projections say this will be around 2035. Not only will this serve as the turning point of renewable energy overtaking fossil fuels, it also marks the start of an era of greater energy efficiency.   The road ahead seems obvious. We will, eventually, be able to get rid of fossil fuels for our energy needs altogether. The figurative finger, however, must be kept on the pulse at all times: the growing world population and corresponding growing demand for energy will have to be managed carefully; and balanced with technological development and a relentless focus on renewable energy to keep our focus clear: minimising the effects of global warming . We will have to keep on walking the talk, so to speak, if we are to cut out fossil fuels for good and discourage any new investments in this polluting industry. Sweden goes first, but other countries should be quick to jump the bandwagon and make similar pledges sooner rather than later. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/energy
Very few topics are garnering as much attention in the context of initiatives to combat global warming as clean energy. And the signs are definitely promising. Renewable energy initiatives are popping up left and right, using pretty much all of the ‘clean’ elements that our earth has to offer - from wind, water and sun to the breeze generated by the London Underground. Some Scandinavian countries are ambitiously agreeing on targets to have all of their country’s energy use be derived from renewable sources, while corporations and institutions left and right are pledging to reduce their fossil fuel production and/or use drastically, in favour of more sustainable alternatives. Climate neutral countries Although those who take the time to read the ‘finer print’ on those pledges will be quick to find out that this is far from straightforward. In fact, Sweden - the first nation to become fossil-fuel free, if all goes well - has given itself a somewhat lengthy timeline: the goal is to be climate neutral by 2045, and fossil-fuel free by the time 2050 rolls around. Let’s digest that for a second. That is still more than 3 decades away - decades that are, if we are to believe the scientists, decisive for the future of mankind and, by extension, our planet. And this is one of the world’s most progressive, innovative countries talking, who already rely heavily on renewable energy sources.   If they, who already generate more than half of their energy needs from renewable sources today, need thirty-something years to ‘turn the tide’, so to speak… Well, one can only guess how much time other nations, still heavily dependant upon their coal and other ‘dirty’ energy sources, will need to do the same. Multi-faceted problem Admittedly, the problem at hand is complicated. This is not something that is ‘easily solved’, nor is there a ‘quick fix’. Actually, we’ve gotten to this stage because of two undeniable trends.   First, the global demand for energy continues to grow - albeit at a slightly lower rate than before, for reasons I’ll get into later. Fact remains that the world’s population is still growing and welfare is on the rise, meaning that more people will be connected to power than ever before. This growing demand puts an enormous strain on producers to deliver more energy, preferably at a lower cost. At a first glance, it sounds like good news that the growth in demand is slowing somewhat. The slowing population growth and economic growth are a large part of this trend - combined with more digitisation and a greater energy efficiency. People tend to be more conscious about the use of energy, while digitisation can replace certain travel or production needs.   Rise of renewable sources So far, so good - while we still require more energy year after year, the slower growth is allowing production to catch up with it in the next decades. Secondly, there’s a significant difference in the growth rate between demand for electricity and demand for transport - which has historically been the largest energy user. Instead, the need for electricity will be making up a quarter of the total energy demand of the world by 2050, compared to 18 percent today. This means that new renewable sources will have to be used more, mainly wind and solar - alongside the wide range of renewable fuel options like hydrogen used for transport purposes. The share of wind and solar power is, in fact, expected to grow up to five times faster than any other source of power. Non-hydro renewables will, by 2050, make up more than a third of the global power generated. Once again, a positive trend, pointing at a growing reliance on renewable sources instead of fossil fuels. 2050 on the horizon There is a painful little side note, though. ‘2050’ keeps on popping up, as a far-away target that most of us will be happy to work towards; yet that is far away enough to be brushed off when deemed inconvenient. Because the main issue seems obvious: the world needs more energy. And for the time being, demand still far exceeds sustainable supply, meaning that something - in this case fossil fuels - is required to bridge the gap.   This leads to another undeniable conclusion, being that fossil fuels are likely to dominate the global energy market for decades to come - at least until we get to 2050. Producers and corporations are quick to reason it away, by stating that massive investments have already been made. And because of the reliability of and heavy dependance upon this energy source, the market is hesitant to abruptly move away to much newer sources. Time is running out Yet the world needs more than ‘we will get rid of fossil fuels around 2050’. The cold hard truth is that the emission of energy-related greenhouse gasses will continue to rise over the next decades, up to a growth of some 14 percent by 2040. This is definitely not helping us in limiting the warming of our planet to two degrees; the critical threshold as set by experts.   And yes, eventually those emissions will level off and drop - projections say this will be around 2035. Not only will this serve as the turning point of renewable energy overtaking fossil fuels, it also marks the start of an era of greater energy efficiency.   The road ahead seems obvious. We will, eventually, be able to get rid of fossil fuels for our energy needs altogether. The figurative finger, however, must be kept on the pulse at all times: the growing world population and corresponding growing demand for energy will have to be managed carefully; and balanced with technological development and a relentless focus on renewable energy to keep our focus clear: minimising the effects of global warming . We will have to keep on walking the talk, so to speak, if we are to cut out fossil fuels for good and discourage any new investments in this polluting industry. Sweden goes first, but other countries should be quick to jump the bandwagon and make similar pledges sooner rather than later. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/energy
Fossil Fuel Will Dominate Energy Use Through 2050: Globally
Fossil Fuel Will Dominate Energy Use Through 2050: Globally
Smarter Technology In Agriculture Will Feed The Planet
Starvation and malnutrition affect approximately 821 million people around the world, according to the World Health Organization's data. Every year, 1.6 trillion tons of food are wasted or thrown away. Food loss costs $1.2 trillion a year. One-third of global food production is thrown away. The technological revolution in agriculture leads to higher yields and less waste Why is so much food wasted? Poor or outdated production techniques are the leading causes. Already 500 million tons of food are wasted per year or lost in the production stage. The increasing climate change does not help either, nor does the growing world population. This could eventually lead to a food crisis, and it is crucial to act upon this. New agricultural techniques offer a solution, as this is the road to a better future. A future in which farmers can both improve their yields, increase their drive and reduce waste. Artificial intelligence, data analysis and even drones are among the solutions that will shape the future of agriculture. This will be smarter, more efficient and better for the planet. Precision agriculture Agriculture is often associated with a rural way of life, but the vision on this topic seems to be shifting. Companies such as Google help farmers improve their yields and optimise production through artificial intelligence. A new type of agriculture is on the rise. Precise agriculture emerged in the 1990s, but now precision agriculture wants to use ultramodern technologies to make the production of crops more accurate and to control it. By using GIS (Geographic Information System), farmers can, for example, view their crops through heat maps, in which red indicates dead fields and green indicates healthy ones. Green fields require more fertilisation and insecticides, and on red areas, farmers do not have to waste their products any more. Since the 1990s, precision agriculture has grown exponentially. Hundreds of precision farms have developed and use drones and other robots. Farmers now have insight into where each seed is planted. This allows them to fertilise their crops with almost perfect accuracy, which was not possible when precision farming was just born. The future of agriculture lies in real-time responses, as more and more agriculture tech companies compete to provide all-in-one platforms with insights and prescriptions on the go. By using smart technologies, such as loT sensors (which measure light, humidity, temperature, soil moisture, etc.), agriculture will be able to overcome some of its most urgent challenges. For example, they can meet the needs of the world's population to cope with a changing climate, all while reducing destructive food wastage. Improved aerial imaging As precision agriculture expands, the demand for drones will increase. It is no surprise that drones will play a significant role in making agriculture more efficient and cost-effective. Drones in agriculture can do so much, like the drone-based planting system. Thanks to their remarkable accuracy, planting costs can be reduced by 85 per cent, according to PwC. Using GPS, the drones can water plants with unparalleled precision, reducing pesticide use by as much as 30 per cent. Satellite images were once seen as game-changing technology but faded with the qualities of a drone. Drones have a higher resolution than satellite images . Drones offer more results when we look at a sustainable future for agriculture. New Business Models The shift towards precision agriculture will bring necessary changes to supply chains. A new type of retailer focused on innovative technologies will emerge. A new kind of e-commerce focused on agriculture, will also change the way crops are grown, making it easier for farmers to buy much at once online. The shift to this digital era still brings some challenges. Trust will be key, as farmers strive to purchase products from suppliers with years of expertise in this sector. Traditional agricultural retailers can significantly benefit from entering this commercial market. With their deep-rooted knowledge and experience in this sector, they are unique to the digital transition of agriculture. Although the demand for digital solutions is high and still rising, there are many steps to be taken before precision agriculture is widely used and can have its most significant impact. The steps depend on farmers, technology development and the retail chain. However, these challenges are pale compared to the severe consequences of not applying the technology, severe implications for the well-being of both agriculture and the planet. It may sound incongruous: farming and high-tech, but together they provide better yields, less waste and greater ecological sustainability. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/waste/general  
Starvation and malnutrition affect approximately 821 million people around the world, according to the World Health Organization's data. Every year, 1.6 trillion tons of food are wasted or thrown away. Food loss costs $1.2 trillion a year. One-third of global food production is thrown away. The technological revolution in agriculture leads to higher yields and less waste Why is so much food wasted? Poor or outdated production techniques are the leading causes. Already 500 million tons of food are wasted per year or lost in the production stage. The increasing climate change does not help either, nor does the growing world population. This could eventually lead to a food crisis, and it is crucial to act upon this. New agricultural techniques offer a solution, as this is the road to a better future. A future in which farmers can both improve their yields, increase their drive and reduce waste. Artificial intelligence, data analysis and even drones are among the solutions that will shape the future of agriculture. This will be smarter, more efficient and better for the planet. Precision agriculture Agriculture is often associated with a rural way of life, but the vision on this topic seems to be shifting. Companies such as Google help farmers improve their yields and optimise production through artificial intelligence. A new type of agriculture is on the rise. Precise agriculture emerged in the 1990s, but now precision agriculture wants to use ultramodern technologies to make the production of crops more accurate and to control it. By using GIS (Geographic Information System), farmers can, for example, view their crops through heat maps, in which red indicates dead fields and green indicates healthy ones. Green fields require more fertilisation and insecticides, and on red areas, farmers do not have to waste their products any more. Since the 1990s, precision agriculture has grown exponentially. Hundreds of precision farms have developed and use drones and other robots. Farmers now have insight into where each seed is planted. This allows them to fertilise their crops with almost perfect accuracy, which was not possible when precision farming was just born. The future of agriculture lies in real-time responses, as more and more agriculture tech companies compete to provide all-in-one platforms with insights and prescriptions on the go. By using smart technologies, such as loT sensors (which measure light, humidity, temperature, soil moisture, etc.), agriculture will be able to overcome some of its most urgent challenges. For example, they can meet the needs of the world's population to cope with a changing climate, all while reducing destructive food wastage. Improved aerial imaging As precision agriculture expands, the demand for drones will increase. It is no surprise that drones will play a significant role in making agriculture more efficient and cost-effective. Drones in agriculture can do so much, like the drone-based planting system. Thanks to their remarkable accuracy, planting costs can be reduced by 85 per cent, according to PwC. Using GPS, the drones can water plants with unparalleled precision, reducing pesticide use by as much as 30 per cent. Satellite images were once seen as game-changing technology but faded with the qualities of a drone. Drones have a higher resolution than satellite images . Drones offer more results when we look at a sustainable future for agriculture. New Business Models The shift towards precision agriculture will bring necessary changes to supply chains. A new type of retailer focused on innovative technologies will emerge. A new kind of e-commerce focused on agriculture, will also change the way crops are grown, making it easier for farmers to buy much at once online. The shift to this digital era still brings some challenges. Trust will be key, as farmers strive to purchase products from suppliers with years of expertise in this sector. Traditional agricultural retailers can significantly benefit from entering this commercial market. With their deep-rooted knowledge and experience in this sector, they are unique to the digital transition of agriculture. Although the demand for digital solutions is high and still rising, there are many steps to be taken before precision agriculture is widely used and can have its most significant impact. The steps depend on farmers, technology development and the retail chain. However, these challenges are pale compared to the severe consequences of not applying the technology, severe implications for the well-being of both agriculture and the planet. It may sound incongruous: farming and high-tech, but together they provide better yields, less waste and greater ecological sustainability. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/waste/general  
Smarter Technology In Agriculture Will Feed The Planet
Smarter Technology In Agriculture Will Feed The Planet
Trump State Visit 2019 Emits 2.619 Tonnes Of CO2: London, UK
Donald Trump’s state visit ‘to emit 2,619 tonnes of carbon dioxide’. That is the same amount of greenhouse gases emitted by an average UK home over 970 years. Donald Trump’s state visit will produce as much carbon dioxide as an average British home does in 970 years. That’s the verdict from renewable energy supplier Pure Planet, which has calculated the US President’s trip to the UK will emit 2,619 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The President, the First Lady, family members and officials arrived on two Boeing 747 jets, which together will emit 979 tonnes of extra carbon dioxide to the atmosphere on their journeys between London and Washington DC. The transport while President Trump is in the UK will also have a significant impact – two identical seven-seat armoured limousines dubbed The Beasts have a fuel economy of just four miles per gallon, meaning they will emit 1.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide while they are here. The study suggests the rest of the 30-car motorcade will pump out an additional 4.3 tonnes of greenhouse gases from driving around – however, the big chunk of emissions the fleet is responsible for happened when it was transported over to the UK in an estimated four cargo planes, sending out 1,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air. Many of the 1,000-person entourage, which includes secret service agents, staff, military aides and members of the press, also use helicopters to get around, emitting an estimated total of 35 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The dietary requirements of such a large volume of people and the related carbon footprint is also likely to have a significant effect on emissions. Steven Day, Co-Founder of Pure Planet, said: "President Trump’s state visit is equivalent to almost a millennium’s worth of emissions from a typical home. It is a staggering large amount. “ Trump has said climate change is a Chinese hoax but this is no joke. The emissions from this state visit are vast." Donald Trump believes the US has a 'clean climate'. He had informed Prince Charles in a 90-minute conversation that the US right now has among the cleanest climates there are based on all statistics, and it’s even getting better because I agree with that we want the best water, the cleanest water. Well, let's debunk these believes with some facts: Greenhouse gas emissions The US is still the world’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, having been overtaken by China more than a decade ago. In per capita terms, however, the US far outstrips China, though it comes below some Middle Eastern states with tiny populations and vast fossil fuel industries. While carbon emissions have been falling, in part because of the switch from coal to gas, Climate Tracker estimates that the US will fail to meet its carbon reduction targets set by Barack Obama, to cut emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Fracking The US is now one of the world’s biggest gas producers, thanks to fracking, and about half of its oil now comes from the production method, which requires the blasting of dense shale rock with water, sand and chemicals to release the tiny bubbles of fossil fuel trapped inside. This boom has come at a cost, as the vast water requirements are draining some areas dry, and pollutants found near fracking sites include heavy metals, chemicals that disrupt hormones, and particulates. The effects range from memory, learning and IQ deficits to behavioural problems. Leaks of 'fugitive' methane are an additional contributor to climate change. Fossil fuel exploration Not content with the US’s existing conventional oil reserves, and the expansion of the oil and gas industries through fracking, the US fossil fuel industry is seeking new grounds for exploration – among them, the pristine Alaskan wilderness. Drilling in the Alaskan wildlife reserve is a key Trump policy. {youtube} Fuel efficiency standards The Trump administration has moved to loosen regulations on fuel efficiency for cars and vans, which were already less stringent than in many other countries. Opponents fear this will increase greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. International cooperation Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement of 2015 cannot legally take effect until after the next presidential election, in an irony of timing. However, the effect can already be seen, in the emboldening of other nations considering a withdrawal, such as Brazil, formerly a strong proponent of action at the UN talks, and the increasing influence of fossil fuel lobbyists. Climate denial With the president claiming climate change to be a 'Chinese hoax', it is perhaps not surprising that the US has some of the highest rates of climate denial in the world. Despite this, a sizeable majority of the US public – nearly six in 10 people – still agree with the science on climate change, and support action to stave off the worst consequences. Water Despite Trump’s claim that 'we want the best water, the cleanest water' – it’s crystal clean, has to be crystal clean clear, his recent actions on water have been an attempt to roll back decades of progress on cleaning up the US water supply. Last December, he announced plans to undo or weaken federal rules that protect millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams from pesticide run-off and other pollutants. Air By rolling back Obama-era measures intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the Trump administration is also threatening to increase air pollution, as coal-fired power stations will be able to spew out toxins once more, according to 14 states who last year opposed the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans. This is in contrast with China and India, cited by Trump – along with Russia – as having polluted air. Those nations are trying to clean up their pollution with stricter limits on what power plants https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Donald Trump’s state visit ‘to emit 2,619 tonnes of carbon dioxide’. That is the same amount of greenhouse gases emitted by an average UK home over 970 years. Donald Trump’s state visit will produce as much carbon dioxide as an average British home does in 970 years. That’s the verdict from renewable energy supplier Pure Planet, which has calculated the US President’s trip to the UK will emit 2,619 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The President, the First Lady, family members and officials arrived on two Boeing 747 jets, which together will emit 979 tonnes of extra carbon dioxide to the atmosphere on their journeys between London and Washington DC. The transport while President Trump is in the UK will also have a significant impact – two identical seven-seat armoured limousines dubbed The Beasts have a fuel economy of just four miles per gallon, meaning they will emit 1.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide while they are here. The study suggests the rest of the 30-car motorcade will pump out an additional 4.3 tonnes of greenhouse gases from driving around – however, the big chunk of emissions the fleet is responsible for happened when it was transported over to the UK in an estimated four cargo planes, sending out 1,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air. Many of the 1,000-person entourage, which includes secret service agents, staff, military aides and members of the press, also use helicopters to get around, emitting an estimated total of 35 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The dietary requirements of such a large volume of people and the related carbon footprint is also likely to have a significant effect on emissions. Steven Day, Co-Founder of Pure Planet, said: "President Trump’s state visit is equivalent to almost a millennium’s worth of emissions from a typical home. It is a staggering large amount. “ Trump has said climate change is a Chinese hoax but this is no joke. The emissions from this state visit are vast." Donald Trump believes the US has a 'clean climate'. He had informed Prince Charles in a 90-minute conversation that the US right now has among the cleanest climates there are based on all statistics, and it’s even getting better because I agree with that we want the best water, the cleanest water. Well, let's debunk these believes with some facts: Greenhouse gas emissions The US is still the world’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, having been overtaken by China more than a decade ago. In per capita terms, however, the US far outstrips China, though it comes below some Middle Eastern states with tiny populations and vast fossil fuel industries. While carbon emissions have been falling, in part because of the switch from coal to gas, Climate Tracker estimates that the US will fail to meet its carbon reduction targets set by Barack Obama, to cut emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Fracking The US is now one of the world’s biggest gas producers, thanks to fracking, and about half of its oil now comes from the production method, which requires the blasting of dense shale rock with water, sand and chemicals to release the tiny bubbles of fossil fuel trapped inside. This boom has come at a cost, as the vast water requirements are draining some areas dry, and pollutants found near fracking sites include heavy metals, chemicals that disrupt hormones, and particulates. The effects range from memory, learning and IQ deficits to behavioural problems. Leaks of 'fugitive' methane are an additional contributor to climate change. Fossil fuel exploration Not content with the US’s existing conventional oil reserves, and the expansion of the oil and gas industries through fracking, the US fossil fuel industry is seeking new grounds for exploration – among them, the pristine Alaskan wilderness. Drilling in the Alaskan wildlife reserve is a key Trump policy. {youtube} Fuel efficiency standards The Trump administration has moved to loosen regulations on fuel efficiency for cars and vans, which were already less stringent than in many other countries. Opponents fear this will increase greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. International cooperation Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement of 2015 cannot legally take effect until after the next presidential election, in an irony of timing. However, the effect can already be seen, in the emboldening of other nations considering a withdrawal, such as Brazil, formerly a strong proponent of action at the UN talks, and the increasing influence of fossil fuel lobbyists. Climate denial With the president claiming climate change to be a 'Chinese hoax', it is perhaps not surprising that the US has some of the highest rates of climate denial in the world. Despite this, a sizeable majority of the US public – nearly six in 10 people – still agree with the science on climate change, and support action to stave off the worst consequences. Water Despite Trump’s claim that 'we want the best water, the cleanest water' – it’s crystal clean, has to be crystal clean clear, his recent actions on water have been an attempt to roll back decades of progress on cleaning up the US water supply. Last December, he announced plans to undo or weaken federal rules that protect millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams from pesticide run-off and other pollutants. Air By rolling back Obama-era measures intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the Trump administration is also threatening to increase air pollution, as coal-fired power stations will be able to spew out toxins once more, according to 14 states who last year opposed the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans. This is in contrast with China and India, cited by Trump – along with Russia – as having polluted air. Those nations are trying to clean up their pollution with stricter limits on what power plants https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Trump State Visit 2019 Emits 2.619 Tonnes Of CO2: London, UK
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