Recovering metals from lithium-ion batteries used in smart phones reduces ecological foot by 90% compared to primary mining. However, the recycling rate is unbelievably low: 4-5% of the smart phone batteries sold in the EU in 2010. Bring back or drop in bins have been focused on regular batteries (not specifically for smartphones) and many smart phones have built in batteries anyway. Countries such as Germany and U.K. are working to increase recycle rates, but stronger and more innovative action is needed as the demand for lithium-ion batteries will only continue to grow (the same type of battery for electric cars). Cradle-to-cradle approach can address and especially alongside efforts already being taken by many companies in regards to conflict minerals. By Tim Smedley on Guardian Sustainable Business.
Recently President Obama and President Hollande came forth urging ambitious GHG cuts, and now yesterday, the U.S. and China issued a joint statement pledging to do more to curb their carbon dioxide output. In John Kerry’s keynote speech in Indonesia, the Secretary of State stated that there was “scientific proof of climate change threatening not only the environment but also the world economy” and that the global community must act. Article published by BBC.
In this audio story, Greensburg, Kansas’ Mayor Bob Dixson explains how the community is the largest factor in sustainability. Since the city of Greensburg was hit with its worst tornado in 2007, Bob Dixson ran for mayor with fighting climate change as one of his main platforms. Greensburg now has wind turbines and solar panels all over town and the mayor says he had “to get past the idea that being “green” was a liberal principle.” Mayor Dixson provides a great example of the importance of separating sustainability from politics and focusing on the human face of sustainability. Story on NPR’s All Things Considered.
There’s been a lot of controversy over the claims of the Sochi Winter Olympics being the first “carbon neutral” Olympic games. Based on Russia’s reputation, many were skeptical that this was really going to happen, especially because it is so hard to real 100% quantify carbon footprints, but on Monday Dow Chemical, who is contributing to much of the game’s architecture, announced that the Sochi Olympic Games have surpassed the expected GHG mitigation levels. In other press releases, Dow has claimed that they were able to mitigate “520,000 MT of CO2 equivalents – surpassing Sochi 2014’s direct carbon footprint of 360,000 MT”, including travel and accommodation for athletes and staff. Environmental Resource Management (ERM) (which is also the State Department’s contractor for the Keystone XL Pipeline and is said to have “shared interests” with TransCanada) has validated the claims of mitigation. Although many remain skeptical, if this feat was actually accomplished it sets a great precedent for future Olympic Games.
The U.S. government has started working on new greenhouse gas emissions targets to submit to the UN. At the UN Climate Change conference in Poland in November, the U.S. committed to delivering a new climate plan by early 2015, as developed countries agreed to have their “national commitments/contributions” by 2015. Now the White House is finally taking steps to decide the new proposed cuts, yet the “previously proposed reduction targets of 30% by 2025 and 42% by 2030 are still in play”. The world is waiting, looking towards the U.S. in hopes for ambitious cuts. By Ed King and published at Responding to Climate Change (RTCC.org).