America is in a fast pursuit toward achieving President Biden’s stated goal that “we are going to get rid of fossil fuels” to achieve the Green New Deal’s (GND) pursuit of wind turbines and solar panels to provide electricity to run the world, but WAIT, everything in our materialistic lives and economies cannot exist without crude oil, coal, and natural gas.
Everything that needs electricity, from lights, vehicles, iPhones, defibrillators, computers, telecommunications, etc., are all made with the oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil.
The need for electricity will decrease over time without crude oil. With no new things to power, and the deterioration of current things made with oil derivatives over the next few decades and centuries, the existing items that need electricity will not have replacement parts and will ultimately become obsolete in the future and the need for electricity will diminish accordingly.
The Green New Deal proposal calls on the federal government to wean the United States from fossil fuels and focus on electricity from wind and solar, but why? What will there be to power in the future without fossil fuels?
Rather than list the more than 6,000 products made from the oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil, I will let the readers list what is NOT dependent on oil derivatives that will need electricity. They can begin listing them here ______ ________ _______.
And by the way, crude oil came before electricity. The electricity that came AFTER the discovery of oil, is comprised of components made with those same oil derivatives from crude oil. Thus, getting rid of crude oil, also eliminates our ability to make wind turbines, solar panels, as well as those vehicles intended to be powered by an EV battery.
Today, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) divesting in fossil fuels are all the rage with big banks, Wall Street firms, and financial institutions, to divest in all 3 fossil fuels of coal, natural gas, and crude oil. Both President Biden and the United Nations support allowing banks and investment giants to collude to reshape economies and our energy infrastructure toward JUST electricity from wind and solar.
A reduction in the usage of coal, natural gas, and crude oil would lead us to life as it was without the crude oil infrastructure and those products manufactured from oil that did not exist before 1900, i.e., the decarbonized world that existed in the 1800’s and before when life was hard, and life expectancy was short.
Ridding the world of crude oil would result in less manufactured oil derivatives and lead to a reduction in each of the following:
The 50,000 heavy-weight and long-range merchant ships that are moving products throughout the world.
The 50,000 heavy-weight and long-range jets used by commercial airlines, private usage, and the military.
The number of wind turbines and solar panels as they are made with oil derivatives from crude oil.
The pesticides to control locusts and other pests.
The tires for the billions of vehicles.
The asphalt for the millions of miles of roadways.
The medications and medical equipment.
The water filtration systems.
The sanitation systems.
The communications systems, including cell phones, computers, iPhones, and iPads.
The number of cruise ships that now move twenty-five million passengers around the world.
The space program.
Before we rid the world of all three fossil fuels of coal, natural gas, and crude oil, the greenies need to identify the replacement or clone for crude oil, to keep the world’s population of 8 billion fed and healthy, and economies running with the more than 6,000 products now made with manufactured derivatives from crude oil, along with the fuels manufactured from crude oil to move the heavy-weight and long-range needs of more than 50,000 jets and more than 50,000 merchant ships, and the military and space programs.
Open government policies should be focused on reducing our usage, via both conservation and improved efficiencies, to REDUCE not ELIMINATE crude oil, and reduce its footprint as much as practical and possible, is truly the only plan that will work.
Wind and solar may be able to generate electricity from breezes and sunshine, but they cannot manufacture anything. Again, what is the need for the Green New Deal’s electricity from breezes and sunshine when you have nothing new to power in the future?
Ronald Stein, Founder and Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure of PTS Advance, headquartered in Irvine, California.
Applying the SDGs looks vastly different in a Western city and a rural Asian village. Su Li Chong explains how universities can help us get past a one-size-fits-all approach
Never in human history has the world been more focused on a singular aim: to rescue and resuscitate planet earth. Systematically broken down the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this is the only masterplan to which all world leaders have signed up, and this aim sees all nations, big and small, rich and poor, tasked with achieving the SDGs and ensuring control of consumption that will lead to a net zero carbon future.
The recent Climate Change Conference (COP26) was abuzz with deep debates over what counts as consumption, sustainability and responsibility. Meanwhile, there is vast discordance on how concepts such as “consumption” and “emissions” are defined by developing and developed nations.
So, how can we really understand and apply the SDGs if definitions are, at best, not easily agreed upon? If we are to take up the clarion call to observe and comply with internationally agreed measures, it stands to reason that this must be done with respect to local cultures.
Japan can give us a lesson in this regard. The reintroduction of the “circular economy” into the 21st century’s popular imagination may mislead some into thinking this is a modern idea, but it is not new by any stretch of the imagination. Although known by a different name, this cyclical practice of using, designing and reappropriating materiality was already commonplace in Japan’s Edo community more than 300 years ago.
To a degree, this explains Japan’s enviable and extraordinary recycling culture today. So, how have they been successful? Among other factors, Japan’s education system – which prizes values and cultural awareness – has been credited for its success. Particularly, Japan’s ongoing efforts in Education for Sustainable Development that involve institutions, educators, youth and local communities ensure that generations of Japanese citizens are educated to understand their individual roles in creating a shared, sustainable future.
After all, counting carbon emissions is really about human behaviour. And human behaviour is teachable. This suggests that, to sustain planet earth, the most fundamental change must take place within the engine of education. But how does education relate to the SDGs, especially if it is itself one of the goals?
The key is to become interconnected. Interconnectedness is understood to be about cultural awareness, biodiversity and sustainability. Thus, initiatives pertaining to sustainability must be located within a country’s historical, cultural and ecological landscape.
So, with interconnectedness at its foundation and education at its heart, this is how we should understand and really apply the SDGs:
Interpret a particular SDG through the local lens
How is the goal worded when translated into local languages? Does the goal have an equivalent or even different meaning? For example, SDG 4, quality education, is among the oldest of the 17 SDGs, and central to this aim is the eradication of illiteracy. In the Western world, the idea of reading has been broadened to cover more than word-based recognition. However, in the Malay language for example, illiteracy is translated as “letter blindness” (buta huruf). This indicates that for a Malay-speaking community, the understanding of quality education and literacy is still narrowly defined as being about letter recognition when, in fact, it should be about the ability to make meaning from multiple sign systems.
For example, a child who spends a lot of time outdoors will eventually be literate in nature’s sign systems, such as weather changes or plant ecology. Using this broad perspective, innovative pedagogies can be introduced into literacy lessons that could apply multiliteracies in environmental themes. This should encourage creative ideas that will champion local versions of good practice that can sustain a balanced biodiversity.
How universities can help: provide a pool of authentic experts who have relevant and long-running experience with the practical problems of local communities so that these experts can become the bridge to connect high-level innovations with day-to-day living.
Appropriate a particular SDG to the strengths of the community
For example, SDG 13 on climate action sets a complex requirement to combat climate change, with one of its aims being to reduce carbon emissions. Carbon emissions will have no immediate relevance to a child in rural Asia, but the child’s carbon-free walk or bicycle ride to school can be lauded as being an important contribution to saving the planet. Further to this, SDG 13 can be appropriated around rewarding those who continue to walk or cycle to school. The goal needs to be applied to the local context so that not just an environmental awareness but a cultural one can be raised, because the culture of net zero is fundamentally about our everyday behaviour.
How universities can help: be the voice that champions and celebrates the strengths of local communities by partnering with local schools and providing mentorship to school students. This will allow young people to know that their actions, even if apparently small, are highly valued and respected.
Be prepared to tackle big, complex questions and issues
The application of any of the SDGs requires individual nations to be courageous in confronting difficult questions, especially relating to core issues such as education and livelihoods. SDG 1, end poverty in all its forms, is another goal that underpins all the others. And indeed, developing nations may have to consider poverty eradication above the other goals. Overconsumption is not relevant in a context where basic needs such as food, equitable education and safe shelter are not met. An understanding of a community’s historical trajectory as far as poverty patterns and injustice towards minority groups are concerned, while difficult to address, is key to mobilising the rest of the goals.
How universities can help: encourage honest research that is inclusive of both the humanities and the sciences so that problems connecting society and its innovations can be scrutinised and critiqued. Provide safe spaces for “hard talk” to be had, so the university community sees critical questioning as a necessary part of genuine scholarship, which is not to be avoided.
In sum, our journey may be one, but our paths are many. There is danger in reducing an internationally set structure into a singular narrative, but there is hope in being inclusive and respectful of local perspectives for the greater good of the global community.
Su Li Chong is senior lecturer in the Institute of Self-Sustainable Building, Department of Management and Humanities, at Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Malaysia. She is also head of university social responsibility (education pillar).
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The above-featured image is Credit to Ravini / Pixabay
UN Climate Change News, 25 April 2022 – Climate-smart agriculture and nature-based solutions, such as carbon sequestration through mangroves, are crucial means of dealing with the accelerating impacts of climate change – but people particularly in developing countries need more information and capacity to effectively take action. This was the key conclusion of an expert meet during the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Climate Week which took place last month.
The MENA region is one of the most affected by climate change impacts, facing climatic challenges such as low rainfall, high temperatures and dry soil.Climate change is expected to put significant strains on already scarce water and agricultural resources. Responding to the knowledge and resilience needs through tailored information for knowledge users is crucial to implementing adaptation action in this region.
Youssef Nassef, Director of Adaptation Division at UN Climate Change:
“We are embarking on an era of intensifying adaptation work and scaling up adaptation. In this region, there are people already keen to do that, given the peculiarity of the MENA region in terms of impacts, vulnerabilities and the type of knowledge that is needed.
The purpose of the Nairobi Work Programme (NWP) – UNFCCC’s knowledge-to-action hub on adaptation and resilience – is to facilitate scaling up of adaptation action in countries by closing knowledge gaps. As part of the work under the NWP, the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative (LAKI) is convening partners in the MENA region to close persistent gaps for knowledge users.
During a LAKI event at MENA Climate Week, participants learned about the climate smart agriculture and nature-based solutions that are closing adaptation knowledge gaps. For example, a ‘MENA Regional Climate Observatory Network’ set up by ICARDA and CGIAR in Morocco, Jordan and Iraq builds on collaboration among scientists to observe, monitor and record various types of biophysical data and ecological indicators. The network, for instance, provides information in a non-expert format to farmers. The data and information can also be utilized by other partners to inform adaptation plans and activities in the region.
A digital system via mobile phones developed by the National Agricultural Research Center in Jordan will also help address knowledge gaps for farmers by transferring key data and information on understanding climate shocks, applying climate-smart agriculture practices to shield from these shocks, and on increasing resilient food production.
In addition to provision of relevant information in scaling up climate smart agriculture and nature-based solutions, countries also need financial support in the region. Adequate financial resources also need to be channeled to those implementing these innovative solutions. The Arab region will be developing the first Arab climate finance strategy, which will gather information to inform financial investments into longer-term strategies for both emission reduction and climate change adaptation.
Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment of the Arabic Republic of Egypt:
“Going to COP27, we should be able to say that these are the needs, the knowledge gaps and the common factors and challenges across the different regions and we need to request the necessary finance for adaptation.”
As countries are embarking on an era of intensifying adaptation work and scaling up adaptation, partnerships such as the ones demonstrated through the LAKI are critical to build climate resilience in countries in the region. The next two major UN Climate Change Conferences are due to be held in the region: Egypt (COP 27) and UAE (COP 28), which should further drive implementation of the LAKI in these subregions.
More information on LAKI in the MENA region (GCC and NA subregions) can be found here.
Watch YouTube video on LAKI in the MENA region here.
This Sustainability article by Tom Swallow on the commemoration of Earth Day. Accordingly, the author proposes that it is an initiative to raise sustainability awareness.
April 22, 2022
Earth Day is an initiative to raise sustainability awareness
Organisations are putting forward their sustainability sentiments as they highlight their ESG commitments in light of the April 2022 Earth Day initiative
While sustainability is a global issue that is recognised 24/7, 365 days a year, by businesses and non-governmental organisations alike, on the 22nd of April each year, the world comes together for Earth Day. The day recognises the significance of positive environmental impact and the economic and political intervention required to provoke necessary change.
Organisations across the globe are highlighting their commitments to sustainable development on this day as many of them set their sights on the net-zero emissions goal. The event sees more than one billion people mobilised as they take various non-profit actions to clean up beaches in more than 190 countries—a tradition that began in 1970.
The 2022 Earth Day theme is ‘Invest in our Planet’ and will host a live stream of the Earth Day Climate Action Summit featuring insights to promote prosperity among viewers and—similar to other events like the COP series—provoke positive change.
Organisations recognise ESG on Earth Day
The message behind ‘Earth’ Day is not only to promote sustainability in terms of the climate but to recognise that environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics are all important in ensuring a well-rounded approach. Consideration for all three areas of ESG is universal, not just for the organisations with direct impacts on the plant. As an example, Zai Lab Limited, an innovative global biopharmaceutical firm, is working with a global charity to plant more trees and reduce its carbon footprint while regenerating the environment.
Its partnership with One Tree Planted will see that one tree is planted for each of Zai Lab’s employees, which made up a total workforce of almost 2,000 personnel. Chief Sustainability Officer at Zai lab, Jim Massey says that “as a young, vibrant and growing healthcare company, Zai Lab commits to ‘Grow Green’ which means we are laying the groundwork for the sustainability of our business and our planet.” The firm is recognised as a preferred partner, thanks to its commitment to ESG throughout the business.
Partnerships are crucial for sustainable action
It’s no news that partnership can open up unseen opportunities for businesses—particularly those that operate and expand globally. Larger organisations are partnering with small-to-medium enterprises to support small initiatives that can make huge impacts on the planet. Beyond its partnership in electric vehicle charging, Bolt is also taking regenerative action by supporting Seedballs Kenya, an initiative that is regenerating land with a key bio-energy resource, charcoal—a commonly used form of energy production in Nairobi.
Seedballs Kenya is a prime example of a localised circular economy as it uses biochar, produced from charcoal dust, as a protective layer for its seeds in areas that are seemingly difficult to regenerate. This forms the Seedball.
Supporting initiatives like this one is driving innovation in the direction of a circular economy and more organisations are committed to achieving carbon neutrality by investing in regenerative horticulture and agriculture.
Teddy Kinyanjui, a Co-Founder of Seedballs, emphasises the importance of initiatives like these.
“In Kenya, like many other countries, the forests and grasslands are under great pressure. One of the many challenges of landscape-scale restoration is that indigenous seeds are often food for different types of animals like mice and birds,” Kinyanjui says.
“That’s where we come in. The Seedballs programme overcomes this challenge by coating native seeds in waste charcoal dust which prevents the seeds from being eaten. This means that the native grass and tree seeds can be planted year-round rather than waiting for the rainy season. When it rains enough, the charcoal dust dissolves and the seed sinks into the ground back to its natural state, ready to grow.”
“Bolt is built on a culture of operating in the most efficient way possible and we apply those values in how we mitigate our own environmental impact,” says Gutiérrez.
“We have handpicked a select number of projects where we collaborate closely with NGOs and other partners on local initiatives that we are confident will maximise the positive impact we can have on the environment. We are proud to announce Seedballs Kenya as the first project of this kind we are investing in and look forward to seeing the difference it will make in areas of Kenya where reforestation was unlikely to occur naturally.”
Every business can become more sustainable
There are many avenues that companies can follow as their path towards sustainability. This will most certainly look different for every organisation, which is why Earth Day brings together many of the new ideas and initiatives that shape their ESG strategies and address concerns around waste management, energy consumption and sourcing, greenhouse gas emissions, social justice and governance.
In the ever-growing food delivery market, changes have happened at an unprecedented rate—partly due to COVID-19 as consumer sentiments accelerate towards more sustainable products and services. In particular, food waste is a challenge that businesses in this space are concerned about. According to the UN Environment Programme’s Food Waste Index, more than 900 million tonnes of food is wasted every year and consumers have made positive changes to the way they consume food.
67% of respondents to a survey said they keep leftovers and use them for another meal
51% of consumers are frustrated by food waste
73% prefer to have accurate portion sizes to avoid food waste
68% feel that takeaway restaurants should have better precautions in place to reduce food waste
What makes a good sustainability initiative?
Where there is no single formula for sustainable business, Earth Day will surely outline some successful initiatives that can be replicated, adapted, and shared with other businesses. Whether it involves being more transparent of sustainability credentials, taking on new projects to improve emissions and waste management with an organisation, or supporting partners in their efforts to regenerate land, Earth Day 2022 hopes to inspire every individual, group and organisation to ‘Invest in our Planet’.
LOLWAH AL-KHATER, Assistant Foreign Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, is Executive Director of the Doha Forum and BRIAN FINLAY, President and CEO of the Stimson Center elaborate an article of Project Syndicate on how Building the Green-Recovery Consensus should be undertaken as off these days.
Even if everyone can agree in principle that the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic should be equitable and sustainable, that doesn’t mean it will be. What is needed is a concrete roadmap with clear goals, timelines, and innovative ideas to ensure that policymakers around the world are on the same page.
March 21, 2022
DOHA – While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is capturing global headlines, COVID-19 continues to wreak socioeconomic havoc around the world. The pandemic has taken more than six million lives, pushed 124 million people into extreme poverty, and impeded progress toward achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Fortunately, around five billion people have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the World Health Organization and Gavi have set a goal of vaccinating 70% of people in all countries by this July.
Notwithstanding the horrific war in Ukraine, the pandemic and its lasting toll will continue to top the list of pressing global concerns alongside climate change. The effects of the latter crisis are already being felt daily, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report shows. Just recently, extreme temperatures and droughts have ravaged West Asia and North Africa. Rising sea levels are threatening many island states and low-lying countries. Catastrophic flooding has inundated parts of Europe and China. And wildfires have torn across the American West and large swaths of Australia.
Scientists now warn that “business as usual” will likely increase the average global temperature, relative to the pre-industrial level, by a catastrophic 3-4º Celsius by the end of the century. To keep global warming at a far safer level, below 1.5ºC, carbon dioxide emissions will need to fall by 45% (from 2010 levels) by 2030, and then to net-zero by 2050.
Now that we know Omicron to be less deadly than earlier COVID-19 variants, we should use this moment to build on the momentum generated last November at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. The world needs to draft a recovery plan that goes well beyond pandemic response by also starting to tackle climate change. The recovery must be not only broad-based but also green.
What does this mean in practical terms? In advance of the 20th edition of the Doha Forum on March 26-27, our organizations teamed up to explore 20 targeted initiatives for driving a just, healthy, and sustainable global recovery. These are outlined in a recently published report, Building Back Together & Greener.
To make the recovery green and sustainable, we propose a Global Green Hydrogen Alliance to facilitate more efficient, climate-friendly methods of producing hydrogen. Once established, the next steps would include setting up a global inventory of green hydrogen programs, protecting intellectual property and licensing rights while expanding global access, and encouraging alliance-wide standard setting for safe storage and transportation.
A fair and inclusive recovery requires more investment in human capital – particularly to upgrade workers’ skills – and an emphasis on supporting the people who are most at risk. Planning processes should privilege public and private financing for low-carbon activities and infrastructure that have the greatest potential to generate jobs for young people and other vulnerable groups facing employment challenges.
To ensure that the recovery supports health and well-being, we need a Global Fund for Social Protection to assist developing-country governments in providing adequate social programs. Such a fund would boost coordination efforts and mobilize domestic and external resources to provide a buffer against economic shocks, including those induced by climate-related environmental disasters.
Finally, to realize the potential of digitalization in advancing the recovery, we need to promote large-scale investment in information- and communications technology infrastructure, both to achieve digital equity and to leverage the economic, health, and environmental potential of new technologies. International organizations and governments should work with businesses to provide effective and reliable digital connectivity, including through targeted investments in the steady digitalization of most (if not all) public services.
Several significant international meetings will be held over the next seven months, each of which will provide an opportunity to take steps toward a shared recovery. But marshalling governments, businesses, and civil society behind a coherent, representative, and sustained global implementation strategy will require a culminating meeting.
That is why we are calling for a “Green Pandemic Recovery Summit,” to be orchestrated by the United Nations and the G20. A two-day event, timed to coincide with the annual UN General Assembly in September, would help to ensure that political leaders at the highest levels commit to pursuing sustainable and equitable socio-economic development in the post-COVID era.
The trillions of dollars spent by wealthy countries during the pandemic shows that there are financial tools available to tackle serious challenges. What is needed is political will, creative market incentives, and a practical blueprint, with clear goals, timelines, and programming ideas.
Resources drawn from related initiatives can help. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Build Back Better World partnership, and national-level “green deals” are generally aligned in their key objectives. UN Secretary-General António Guterres’sOur Common Agenda report offers additional timely and ambitious ideas for delivering global public goods and addressing major risks.
People and countries are understandably still focused on the pandemic, the fear that humanity is nearing the point of no return with respect to climate change, the war in Ukraine, and other global threats. Fortunately, we already have the multilateral institutions that we need to forge a global political consensus for tackling these overlapping crises. We now must leverage these tools accordingly.
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