These 6 Charts Show How the World is Improving

Note form Agile Energy Admin: interesting charts but equally interesting would be the ones that show deforestation, pollution in our cities, the rise of asthma particularly in cities, loss of habitat and biodiversity, species that have become extinct, the build rate of coal fired power stations, the rise of renewable energy (or not compared to the coal stations) the use of hydrocarbon based growth accelerators (fertilser) in agriculture, etcetera. So it is not all positive when we look at trends other than those directly benefiting the human species. Like most things in life there is no free lunch.

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These 6 Charts Show How the World is Improving

These 6 Charts Show How the World is Improving

View the high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.

It only takes a few minutes of cable news to get the feeling that the world is heading into a tailspin.

Endless images of homicide investigations, natural disasters, car crashes, and drug busts fill the airwaves on a daily basis. It’s upsetting – but also certainly captivating for the average viewer.

In fact, the news cycle thrives on fear and violence, so mainstream networks find a way to fill up 99% of programming with these singular events. It’s addicting and sometimes anger-inducing, but is it representative of what’s really going on in the world?

Good News Happens Slowly

Today’s infographic comes to us from economist Max Roser of Our World in Data, and it highlights six megatrends that show that in many important ways, our world is improving drastically.

The one commonality of these six indicators? They all happen slowly and incrementally, but are more evident with a long-term perspective.

Each family lifted out of poverty, each classroom that gets built, and each village gaining access to basic vaccinations may not seem significant on a scale of billions of people – but over decades, these gains add up to create a richer, more educated, and healthier world and a very powerful statistical story.

Six Global Trends

Here are the six big picture trends pointed out by Roser, using data collected over hundreds of years:

1. Extreme Poverty
The portion of people in extreme poverty – making less than $1.90 per day – has dropped like a rock over the years. Back in 1940, about 75% of the world was in extreme poverty – today, that number is just 10%.

The most potent recent example of this is China, where access to free markets have enabled 700 million people to be lifted out of poverty in just over 20 years.

Poverty in China

It’s also worth mentioning that statistics for this category are done using inflation-adjusted international dollars, which take into account inflation over time as well as exchange rates. Non-monetary forms of income are also included in the calculations.

2. Basic Education
In 1820, only a privileged few were able to get basic schooling. Since then, millions of classrooms and schools have been added around the globe, and the numbers are staggering. In relative terms, we’ve gone from 17% of people having a basic education to 86% today.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this, also from Our World in Data:

Level of education of world

3. Literacy
Following a similar trend line as basic education, literacy has risen from 12% to 85% over roughly two hundred years. In absolute terms, these numbers are even more impressive. In the 1820s, there were only about 100 million people that could read that were 15 years or older. Today, the number stands at 4.6 billion.

4. Democracy
While the world has been having some short-term setbacks when it comes to freedom and democracy, the overall trend line is still impressive over the long run.

In 1900, only 1 in 100 people worldwide lived in a democracy – and today, the majority (56 in 100) can say they live in a country with free and fair elections.

5. Vaccination
Vaccinations for diseases like whopping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria were unavailable for most of the 200 year chart. However, today around 86% of people globally are vaccinated against these basic and devastating illnesses.

6. Child Mortality
Even as far back as 1920, it used to be that over 30% of infants would die before they hit their 5th birthday.

Since then, developments in housing, sanitation, science, and medicine have made it so that death is a much rarer occurrence for the youngest people in our society. Today, on a global basis, child mortality has been reduced to 4%.


A Future with Hydrogen?

Submitted by Jacobs on 14th Jan 2019.

With a global shift to clean energy growth, is hydrogen part of the decarbonising solution? In this article we explore what’s driving the need for change and some of the work underway to test the vision of a future with hydrogen.

Carbon dioxide levels are at their highest in 650,000 years1. Arctic sea ice is dropping by an average of 12.8 percent per decade2 and other impacts range from extreme weather events and rising sea levels, to increasing ocean acidification and global temperature rise.

In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a warning about the serious threat posed by climate change and the considerable difference in the impacts that we can expect to see with 1.5 and 2 degrees of warming. The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC highlighted that limiting global warming to 1.5ºC requires rapid and far-reaching changes in all aspects of society, including land, energy, industry, buildings, transport and cities.

As Jacobs grows its sustainability work, we continue to partner with clients around the world exploring opportunities to deliver a more sustainable and equitable society and protect our natural ecosystems. No matter the challenge, we’re providing deep technical and market knowledge and digitally-enabled solutions to help tackle some of the world’s big issues. Particularly, in cities spaces where there are tough challenges around air quality, connectivity, mobility and placemaking.

The U.K.’s Climate Change Act 2008 has a 2050 target to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent of 1990 levels. With heat being the most difficult decarbonization challenge facing the U.K., meeting this target implies decarbonising nearly all heat in buildings and most industrial processes. This is driving different initiatives, fuels and technology combinations to be explored to see which have the potential to make a significant contribution.

The U.K. Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) set up its Energy Innovation Portfolio to accelerate the commercialization of innovative, clean, cost-effective and reliable energy technologies by the mid-2020s. It’s looking at innovation needs across nuclear, renewables, lower carbon and more energy efficient industry and residential and other priorities.

The potential of large-scale hydrogen conversion to significantly reduce carbon emissions

Heating and cooling U.K. homes accounts for about half of all energy consumption and a third of carbon emissions. And about 80 percent of homes use natural gas (methane) for heating and cooking3. One of the options being explored is to replace methane with hydrogen, as hydrogen releases no carbon dioxide when converted to heat. A U.K.-wide conversion to hydrogen gas could reduce heat emissions by at least 73 percent as well as supporting decarbonisation of transport and localized electrical generation4. This offers a major step towards meeting the U.K.’s carbon reduction targets. BEIS is considering several options, from how hydrogen could be produced sustainably at scale, through to what it would cost to change. With experience across hydrogen production, transmission and transportation, Jacobs is part of this cutting-edge work, involved in a series of projects that offer the potential to deliver world firsts.

BEIS commissioned Jacobs, along with partners Element Energy and Cardiff University, to complete analysis on the potential use of full hydrogen for industrial appliances, as part of the Hy4Heat program. The Hy4Heat feasibility study is exploring whether it is technically possible and safe to replace natural gas with hydrogen in residential and commercial buildings and gas appliances. The team is investigating the potential future conversion of industrial heating appliances to hydrogen, including costs, technical and commercial requirements, timeframes, safety and other considerations. This specific work package will provide an evidence base for the Hy4Heat program, inform future government decisions regarding potential energy pathways and outline the kind of hydrogen trials and appliance development work required, ahead of any potential decisions around industrial conversion to hydrogen.

The ground-breaking “H21 North of England (NoE) report” released (November 23) in the U.K., sets out how 3.7 million homes and 40,000 businesses in the north of England, currently heated by natural gas, could be converted to hydrogen and made emission-free by 2034. Northern Gas Networks (NGN) and Cadent, in partnership with Equinor, have developed a H21 North of England concept design study. Jacobs provided technical expertise relating to hydrogen pipeline modelling to this detailed plan for the decarbonisation of circa 14 percent of U.K. heat through conversion of the North of England. The full NoE report also provides a vision for rollout of the hydrogen economy across the U.K. This important study explores how an expansion of the hydrogen economy could work and informs future strategies for a range of challenges to create a new era in low carbon heat and transport for the U.K. More information is available here.

The availability of low-cost bulk hydrogen in a gas network could transform the potential for hydrogen vehicles and, via fuel cells, support a decentralised model of combined heat and power and localized power generation.

Leveraging our expertise in hydrogen, reformer technology and CO2capture, Jacobs’ work in this area is not confined to the U.K. We are also providing a feasibility study for Equinorto evaluate the possibilities for building a hydrogen production plant, including CO2 capture, liquefaction and export facilities, at Eemshaven in the Netherlands. The hydrogen will be supplied as fuel to an existing natural gas-fired power plant that will be converted into a hydrogen-fueled power plant designed to lower the plant's carbon emissions at a large scale and to a future hydrogen market via a hydrogen pipeline and storage facilities. The liquefied CO2 will be shipped to Norway for off-shore storage.

Collaboration of expertise, innovation and vision is crucial to accelerating energy transition and developing sustainable economies that are more climate-friendly and less energy-consuming. Our Netherlands operation joined the Dutch Energy Transition Coalition in 2017 as businesses came together to support the acceleration of energy transition across the country.

Hydrogen’s role in the future of transport 

With approximately 70 percent of the world population forecast to live in urban areas by 2050, fast and reliable transport connectivity, both within and between urban areas, is essential for the movement of people and goods, and ensuring geographical distribution of growth. The challenge for city leaders is to lay down the frameworks which allow this development to take place. With city congestion at an all-time high, air pollution is an increasing concern – and hydrogen offers the potential of another alternative as a low-carbon transport fuel in the future. Hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles convert compressed hydrogen into electricity to power the electric motor.

Published last year, Shell’s study5 on the future of hydrogen in the transport sector, jointly produced with the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, said that in 2050, 113 million fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) could save up to 68 million tonnes of fuel and almost 200 million tonnes of carbon emissions, making a significant contribution to reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions in the transport sector.

Exploring hydrogen-powered train technology, for example, Jacobs recently worked on a Hydrail Feasibility Study Report with Metrolinx, a Government of Ontario (GO) agency that manages and integrates regional transportation planning in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. With the support of Ernst & Young Orenda Corporate Finance Inc. and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, the Jacobs-led team determined it is technically feasible to use Hydrogen Fuel Cells (HFCs) as a power source for electrifying the GO rail network, which carries more than 70,000 passengers annually.

Taking the green hydrogen economy one step closer to be circular

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) also just launched a new project to explore how circular economy approaches can be applied to optimise the efficiency of hydrogen production and stimulate the development of a local oxygen market in Orkney. The project aims to identify potential applications for the commercial use of oxygen and heat as by-products of the hydrogen production process, ultimately developing a circular business model for hydrogen. The work is being supported by Zero Waste Scotland and delivered by Jacobs as part of the circular economy business support service, an initiative supported by funding from both the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund through the $92 million (£73m) Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.

EMEC has been producing ‘green’ hydrogen since 2017 using renewable energy from local wind and tidal resources to power an electrolyser, splitting water into its chemical components: hydrogen and oxygen. However, the cost of producing hydrogen is high as roughly one third of input energy is lost as oxygen and low-grade heat during production.

This cost is driving business innovation to increase the efficiency and circularity of the process by identifying end applications for heat and oxygen by-products. Local industries such as aquaculture, horticulture, diving, health and aviation all use oxygen as part of daily business. Integrating locally produced oxygen into the supply chain will increase island resiliency and reduce the environmental impact of businesses currently getting oxygen delivered from the U.K. mainland.


No nuclear needed: Renewables could meet UK’s carbon targets, but only with new policies

The research and analysis firm has claimed that its power price modelling service has marked a “notable shift away” from previous thinking that new nuclear plants would be crucial towards meeting the country’s carbon targets.

It said that continued improvements in the development and operation of established renewables such as wind and solar has seen them becoming increasingly cost-effective, meaning that they could effectively offset the capacity new nuclear generation would provide, and at a lower cost to consumers.

EDF’s Hinkley Point C reactor is currently under development, but there remains considerable uncertainty over additional new nuclear plant in the UK after a string of developers pulled out of would-be projects citing deteriorating market conditions and economics.

Artist’s impression of plans for the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station

 The government has promised to buy electricity worth £30bn over 35 years from the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. Photograph: EDF Energy/PA

In November last year Toshiba confirmed that it had scrapped plans to build a new nuclear power facility in Cumbria after it failed to find a buyer for its NuGen subsidiary.

That led energy secretary Greg Clark to claim that a “substantial pipeline” of renewables could fill the gap left by the Moorside project’s collapse.

The situation was then exacerbated in February when Hitachi suspended work on the Wylfa Newydd nuclear project in Wales, a development which some in the sector said risked “blowing a hole” in the UK’s decarbonisation strategy.

Cornwall’s latest forecasts would appear to indicate that new renewables could effectively curtail the need for new nuclear, at least immediately. But Ben Hall, head of new business at Cornwall Insight, said this could only occur with a significant ramp up of renewables policy.

“Despite the falling costs of solar PV, onshore and offshore wind and other low-carbon technologies, deployment may still need some form of support above and beyond the power markets. Captured wholesale prices for renewable projects will fall relative to baseload prices, leading to lower revenues because of what is commonly termed power price cannibalisation.

“From our modelling it is also evident that the combination of Capacity Market de-rating factors for renewables and projected clearing prices - even if they rise - is not going to be enough to encourage significant new-build merchant renewables,” he said.

Hall’s words echo those made by the Committee on Climate Change, which earlier this month recommended that the UK government establish a 2050 net zero target, but only if it is serious about doing so and willing to follow through on the necessary policy framework


How Much Oil is in an Electric Vehicle?

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How Much Oil is in an Electric Vehicle?

How Much Oil is in an Electric Vehicle?

When most people think about oil and natural gas, the first thing that comes to mind is the gas in the tank of their car. But there is actually much more to oil’s role, than meets the eye…

Oil, along with natural gas, has hundreds of different uses in a modern vehicle through petrochemicals.

Today’s infographic comes to us from American Fuel & Petrochemicals Manufacturers, and covers why oil is a critical material in making the EV revolution possible.

Pliable Properties

It turns out the many everyday materials we rely on from synthetic rubber to plastics to lubricants all come from petrochemicals.

The use of various polymers and plastics has several advantages for manufacturers and consumers:

  1. Lightweight
  2. Inexpensive
  3. Plentiful
  4. Easy to Shape
  5. Durable
  6. Flame Retardant

Today, plastics can make up to 50% of a vehicle’s volume but only 10% of its weight. These plastics can be as strong as steel, but light enough to save on fuel and still maintain structural integrity.

This was not always the case, as oil’s use has evolved and grown over time.

Not Your Granddaddy’s Caddy

Plastics were not always a critical material in auto manufacturing industry, but over time plastics such as polypropylene and polyurethane became indispensable in the production of cars.

Rolls Royce was one of the first car manufacturers to boast about the use of plastics in its car interior. Over time, plastics have evolved into a critical material for reducing the overall weight of vehicles, allowing for more power and conveniences.

Timeline:

  • 1916
    Rolls Royce uses phenol formaldehyde resin in its car interiors
  • 1941
    Henry Ford experiments with an “all-plastic” car
  • 1960
    About 20 lbs. of plastics is used in the average car
  • 1970
    Manufacturers begin using plastic for interior decorations
  • 1980
    Headlights, bumpers, fenders and tailgates become plastic
  • 2000
    Engineered polymers first appear in semi-structural parts of the vehicle
  • Present
    The average car uses over 1000 plastic parts

Electric Dreams: Petrochemicals for EV Innovation

Plastics and other materials made using petrochemicals make vehicles more efficient by reducing a vehicle’s weight, and this comes at a very reasonable cost.

For every 10% in weight reduction, the fuel economy of a car improves roughly 5% to 7%. EV’s need to achieve weight reductions because the battery packs that power them can weigh over 1000 lbs, requiring more power.

Today, plastics and polymers are used for hundreds of individual parts in an electric vehicle.

Oil and the EV Future

Oil is most known as a source of fuel, but petrochemicals also have many other useful physical properties.

In fact, petrochemicals will play a critical role in the mass adoption of electric vehicles by reducing their weight and improving their ranges and efficiency. In According to IHS Chemical, the average car will use 775 lbs of plastic by 2020.

Although it seems counterintuitive, petrochemicals derived from oil and natural gas make the major advancements by today’s EVs possible – and the continued use of petrochemicals will mean that both EVS and traditional vehicles will become even lighter, faster, and more efficient.


Gas-addicted Scots have Europe's worst record on renewable heat

By David Leask Chief Reporter, The Herald

Centrica operates gas terminals near Barrow and has operations in Morecambe Bay

Centrica operates gas terminals near Barrow and has operations in Morecambe Bay

SCOTLAND has Europe’s worst record on renewable heat.

New statistics reveal the country – despite an excellent record on clean electricity – remains dangerously dependent on burning climate-change-causing gas to stay warm

Only six per cent of all heating in Scotland is sustainable, just a tenth of the proportion in Sweden, the best performing nation in the EU-28.

The low figure was revealed in official govt figures just after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon country declared a climate emergency.

Now they are turning their attention to how we power our cars, buses and trucks and how we heat our homes, businesses and public buildings.

Fabrice Leveque, of Scottish Renewables, is confident that the country can make the change - to meet Ms Sturgeons's target of net zero carbon by 2045.

Mr Leveque, a heating expert, said: "The challenge is significant, but Scotland is well placed to take it on, with our abundant resources of renewable energy and the cleanest electricity in the UK.

"With the right leadership from government and public appetite for change we can make the change to cleaner heating in time, and realise new economic opportunities along the way."

Scottish politicians - despite a recent slowdown in installing new renewable electric capacity - have routinely highlighted the dramatic switch north of the border to clean electricity.

The Annual Compendium of Scottish Energy Statistics backs up their boasts. Renewable electricity accounted for just over 70 per cent of gross consumption in 2017, the second highest figure in the EU, just behind Austria and just ahead of Sweden.

Moreover, Scottish figures between 2007 and 2017 improved faster than any other nation across the bloc, rising by 50 percentage points. Nuclear power was, in the year, still the biggest single source of electric energy, at 36 per cent. Wind came just behind, meaning more than half of the power generated (a different figure than the amount consumed thanks to exports) was renewable.

Scotland's central heating systems are usually gas-fired and a race is on to provide simple solutions to enable householders to replace their current boilers - as and when they are due for an upgrade - with electric ones.

Glasgow has just announced that it is aiming to become Britain's first zero-carbon city, with the backing of ScottishPower. Edinburgh has a similar ambition, but without the support of southern Scotland's main power generator and distributor.

But their biggest problem will be increasing output to enable transition and meet new demand, from electric vehicles and boilers as they come on line.

Mr Anderson in early May, said: “We need to generate more power and that power has to be renewable. We need to double production and quadruple renewable production.

“The cost of that renewable power is coming down every month. We stand ready to invest.”

But there are problems. Mr Anderson said his main concern is the current lack of appetite from the UK Government for onshore wind, despite public support. Scotland will need more wind farms and bigger turbines to get anywhere close to staving off its share of the climate catastrophe.


HZI Hands Over 50 MW Waste to Energy Plant in Edinburgh

Hitachi Zosen Inova has handed over the 50 MW Millerhill waste to energy facility to FCC E&M Ltd., a subsidiary of FCC Environment Ltd in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Image © Hitachi Zosen Inova

The handover follows 31 months of construction for the plant, which is located in the east of the Scottish capital and will process around 155,000 metric tonnes of non-recyclable household and commercial waste.

The plant, which has a total generating capacity of 50 MW, will export over 12 MW of electricity is fed into the grid.
While the project in Edinburgh is HZI’s first foray into Scotland, it’s the fifth project the Swiss cleantech company has delivered on behalf of FCC.

Paul Taylor, Group Chief Executive at FCC, describes the collaboration: “After plants in Zistersdorf in Austria, Hartlebury and Greatmoor in England, and the installation in Majorca in Spain, we can now also look back on a successful partnership with HZI in Edinburgh. Once again, they’ve proven to be a reliable partner that professionally delivers a high-quality product.”

“For HZI this project in the UK marks a further milestone in one of Europe’s most important markets, underscoring our role as one of the global leaders in thermal energy recovery,” said Andres Kronenberg, Chief Business Development Officer at HZI. Alongside the HZI combustion technology, the installation also features HZI XeroSorp®, a dry flue gas treatment system whose sophisticated design both reduces the plant’s water consumption and boosts thermal energy recovery.


THE CLIMATE TURNINGPOINT: WHERE ARE WE NOW?

 

From edie.net 17th May 2019 https://www.edie.net/downloads/The-climate-turning-point--Eight-sustainable-business-gamechangers-for-2020/386?utm_campaign=All%20exprom%20-%20April%20&utm_source=AdestraCampaign&utm_medium=Email

 

The first carbon budget (2008-12) has been met, and the UK is currently on track to outperform the second and third carbon budgets leading up to 2022 - but it is not on track to meet the fourth, which is for the period from 2023 up to 2027. We are at a climate turning point, where a 2 degree (C) temperature rise shifts from being a risk to a reality.

However, hitting the emissions targets required to halt this new reality to at least 1.5C or below has been broadly successful until this moment - at least from the UK’s viewpoint. Based on the latest figures from the Committee on Climate Change, measured from 1990 levels, emissions have now fallen by 43% overall - but outside of power and waste sector, cuts have plateaued.

The main drivers for emissions reduction have still been from electricity generation, which have fallen by 59% between 2008 and 2017, and the shift away from coal usage and better energy efficiency measures from lightbulbs to building performance. The remainder of the economy needs to catch-up, fast.

More than 40% all UK CO2 emissions are still linked to the construction and operation of the built environment – and although the level fluctuates due to building growth cycles – the overall level of emissions has decreased from 1990 levels, according to the UK Green Building Council.

However, heating of buildings accounts for more than 10% of the UK’s emissions alone – and when you consider 80% of buildings existing in 2050 have already been constructed – the challenge for the UK construction sector is huge.

Despite the UK progress in some areas of power and waste, globally atmospheric CO2 concentrations have continued to rise and now exceed 400 parts per million. This is against the equally worrying backdrop of only 16 countries from the historic Paris Agreement setting goals for emission cuts that clearly match their nationally determined contributions.

The time for change is now. In October 2018, YouGov revealed two-thirds of UK businesses were yet to set emissions targets. But all is not lost – the same survey revealed 73% of respondents claimed sustainability was “very important” to their brand.

This illustrates the gap between ambition and action – and the need for businesses to speed up their approach to adopting the ‘gamechangers’ that will help them scale-up low-carbon, resource efficient solutions.

Companies have taken action, including through the Science based Targets (SBTi) initiative, which provides companies with a clearly defined pathway to future-proof growth by specifying how much and how quickly they need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring that, as a result, they reduce the potential temperature rise to at most 2C. But only a handful of companies have undertaken such a target to date.

Alongside the SBTi, companies are also committing to longer term ‘net zero’ goals which aim for firms to have no impact on the climate at all, in terms of carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, by the middle of the decade.

Private sector target setting has been matched by the UK Government, which has set out ambitious plans through its Clean Growth Strategy that aims to decarbonise all sectors of the UK economy throughout the 2020s with a plan to be carbon neutral by 2050. Many companies, as can be seen in this report, have taken the bull by the horns and begun radical climate action. Now is the time for game changing opportunities to become the new normal.

“DESPITE THE UK PROGRESS IN SOME AREAS OF POWER AND WASTE, GLOBALLY ATMOSPHERIC CO2 CONCENTRATIONS HAVE CONTINUED TO RISE AND NOW EXCEED 400 PARTS PER MILLION.”


New report reveals health impacts of plastic pollution and rubbish on world’s poorest people

 

A new report has revealed for the first time that one person is dying every 30 seconds in developing countries from diseases and illnesses caused by plastic pollution and uncollected rubbish dumped or burnt near homes.

The new figures were released today in a report called No Time to Waste: Tackling the Plastic Pollution Crisis Before it’s Too Late by international relief and development agency Tearfund, in collaboration with conservation charity Fauna & Flora International (FFI), the Institute of Development Studies and waste management charity WasteAid. The report looks at the health impact of plastic pollution and rubbish on the world’s poorest people for the first time.

It found that each year between 400,000 and a million people (at the upper end one person every 30 seconds) are dying in developing countries from illnesses and diseases like diarrhoea, malaria and cancers caused by living near uncollected waste and plastic pollution.

The report calls on multinational companies to fundamentally change their business models by committing to reporting the number of single-use plastic items they distribute in developing countries by 2020, and halving this by 2025.

Sir David Attenborough OM FRS , the internationally renowned naturalist and broadcaster and a vice president at Fauna & Flora International – “This report is one of the first to highlight the impacts of plastic pollution not just on wildlife but also on the world’s poorest people,

“It is high time we turn our attention fully to one of the most pressing problems of today – averting the plastic pollution crisis – not only for the health of our planet, but for the wellbeing of people around the world.”

“We need leadership from those who are responsible for introducing plastic to countries where it cannot be adequately managed, and we need international action to support the communities and governments most acutely affected by this crisis.” said Sir David, a vice president at Fauna & Flora International.

Globally two billion people, (one in four), don’t have their rubbish collected, often leading to disease and death. When rubbish isn’t collected it often builds up in rivers and causes flooding, which can lead to diarrhoea and a host of infectious diseases.

Often the only other way to dispose of waste is to burn it in the streets, with the resulting fumes being extremely damaging to health as well as – in some countries – being the single largest source of carbon emissions, contributing to climate change.

Dr. Ruth Valerio, Global Advocacy & Influencing Director at Tearfund said: “Today Tearfund launches our new Rubbish Campaign, which calls for urgent action from four multinationals – Coca-Cola, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever.

“They sell billions of products in single-use plastic packaging in poorer countries where waste isn’t collected, in the full knowledge that people will have no choice but to burn it, discard it in waterways or live among it.

“The CEOs running these multinationals can no longer ignore the human cost of single-use plastic – fundamental changes to business models are urgently required. There is no time to waste.”

Elisabeth Whitebread, Programme Manager, Marine Plastics for Fauna & Flora International said: “This report is a wake-up call to industry about the interconnected threat that plastic pollution poses to marine and human health. While the findings are shocking, this is not an unsolvable problem.

“As a first step, companies can commit to a full audit of product life cycles, including supply chains, so we can identify where plastic is polluting the environment and bring it to a stop.”

Patrick Schröder, Research Fellow at Institute for Development Studies, said:

“Plastic pollution is damaging our planet and our lives. The current model of ‘take, make, use and dispose’ is unsustainable. Businesses, governments and citizens need to embrace a ‘circular economy’ that promotes sustainable consumption and production and reduces environmental impacts.

“There are a growing number of examples of the circular economy in action – particularly across Africa and Asia – and we need to learn from these initiatives to inform and scale future efforts to tackle this pressing global challenge.”

Zoë Lenkiewicz, Head of Programmes and Engagement at WasteAid added: “The problems caused by plastic packaging waste are universal, with people and wildlife everywhere being seriously affected.

“Large companies place vast amounts of single-use plastic into communities that don’t have waste management, with significant and growing planetary health impacts. As this report shows, we cannot recycle our way out of plastic pollution – we need systemic change.”

Sir David Attenborough will introduce the report later today at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council in London.

Download the full report.


Blockchain ‘evolving past a buzzword’ as ABB unveils new peer-to-peer energy trading pilot

Image: ABB.

Image: ABB.

Blockchain is no longer just a buzzword in the energy sector, ABB has claimed, after the technology provider unveiled a new pilot testing its use in peer-to-peer energy trading.

ABB has partnered with Italian utility Evolvere to use blockchain technology it developed in conjunction with Prosume, which allows for transparent and secure peer-to-peer energy transactions.

The pilot will see the combination of ABB inverters and the tech firm’s ABB Ability digital solution and is to explore how blockchain technologies and applications could transform the market for smart grids.

ABB said the use of blockchain-ready inverters could allow utilities, aggregators and energy company to cut both Capex and Opex project costs, accelerating business cases for subsidy-free renewables.

If successful, the firm intends to ensure that all inverters in the same class are blockchain ready.

Leonardo Botti, global head of product management at ABB, told Current± that having been clubbed together with artificial intelligence and augmented reality as a tech-driven buzzword, blockchain was now playing an integral role in new projects.

“It’s clearly a trend of the way the market is going. All the utilities and energy companies are look at this space,” Botti said, adding that its maturation was occurring far earlier than even some of the industry’s most optimistic timeframes.

Giampiero Frisio, head of ABB’s smart power business, said that the project was borne from the changing way in which consumers harness their energy.

“Prosumers, who use their own photovoltaic systems, are looking at how they can not only produce and use the energy they create, but also review how they can then share any excess energy between neighbors, communities and the wider grid.

“The Evolvere project has allowed us to develop viable and proven solutions for the market in anticipation of new dynamics and regulatory frameworks coming in to place for blockchain technology. We are excited to be on this journey as we write the future of energy,” he said


Scotland Pioneers Renewable Energy, Aims to Lead Climate Emergency

EDINBURGH, Scotland – Scotland, Europe’s largest producer of oil and gas, is pioneering the use of renewable energy in a bid to meet some of the most ambitious global climate targets.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a “climate emergency” on April 28 and a few days later, made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero in 2045, five years before the rest of the UK.

The country has followed the recommendations of the Climate Change Committee, an independent advisory body, which said that the region has a greater number of sites that can be used to capture and store carbon dioxide and a vast area for planting trees.

If it succeeds in being a carbon neutral economy, capable of absorbing the CO2 it produces, Scotland would overtake the rest of the UK and to the European Union, which has set the objective for 2050, in line with the Climate Agreement of Paris.

Experts such as Karen Turner, director of the Centre for Energy Policy at the University of Strathclyde International Public Policy Institute in Glasgow, said that its biggest challenge will be to convert the oil and gas industry in the North Sea, which is an important part of the national economy.

Turner told Efe that the experience and skills in this sector could be applied to the capture and storage of CO2, the technique used to remove it from the atmosphere or directly prevent it from reaching it.

“Oil and gas extraction sites can be used to store carbon, which can be an opportunity to save jobs, and we know that many of the operators in the sector are interested in this type of mechanism that can change the type of industry North Sea,” she said.

Minister for Energy Paul Wheelhouse said Scotland should lead the development of this complex technology and make it “commercially viable for countries that can not afford such a level of research.”

An average of 1.7 million barrels of oil per day was produced in the North Sea in 2018, an increase of four percent over the previous year and the highest level since 2011, according to the UK Oil and Gas Authority.

Experts agree that, despite still having a significant production of fossil fuels, Scotland has opted to invest in renewable energy sources such as wind and, as of October, managed to produce cleanly an average of 98% of its electricity. The aspiration is to reach 100% next year.

The Orkney Islands, in the northeast, are a great component of this environmental revolution.

They produce more electricity than they can consume thanks to the commitment to wind, tidal and an incipient alternative: the generation of hydrogen from non-polluting sources.

In line with the new measures that the regional executive is implementing against global warming, it has decided to keep the controversial tax paid by passengers to fly from Scottish airports which previously it had committed to reduce.

Sturgeon’s cabinet has backed down by considering that it is not “compatible” with its environmental goals.

Turner said that the issue of how to reduce polluting emissions generated by aviation must be addressed “honestly.”

“This is one of the biggest problems, because we want Scotland to be an accessible and open place to the world, especially in the context of Brexit, and we also try to achieve climate objectives and rethink the issue of aviation, “he said.

Environmental organizations such as Greenpeace warn that meeting the goal of net zero emissions in 2050 is necessary to reduce the increase in the global temperature of the planet from three degrees to 1.5 degrees.