Sustainability Reads: October 27- November 2

The IPCC synthesis report: a summary for everyone
A new IPCC report was released today to act as an ‘essential handbook on climate change’ for policymakers. The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) report summarizes and connects the dots between the three working group reports that have been produced over the past year. The first report explained how human activities are contributing to climate change; the second looked at how climate change is contributing to problems like flooding, disruption to farming, food and water shortages, and species migration and extinction; and the third report outlined what we can do about it. The report released today draws upon the three report’s findings to say that we need mitigation and adaptation policies with nations working together to address this collective problem and stay below 2 degrees of warming. With the right policies we can prevent dangerous climate change, allow ecosystems to adapt, and ensure countries can develop sustainably, all at the same time. Above 2 degrees the risks are high, more difficult to deal with,  more expensive, and it’s unlikely we could deal with the consequences. To avoid, we need to reduce emissions to 0 by 2100, which is not going to be easy. The scientists have spoken. Now come on policymakers, the ball is in your court. By Roz Pidcock, Carbon Brief.

Sustainable Solutions at the Bottom of the Pyramid
Interesting examples of profitable business models that deploy sustainability projects to low-income areas in developing countries. In Nigeria, Wecyclers hires locals to pick up recycling from households via bikes. For the recyclable materials picked up families receive points that can be redeemed for cell phone minutes, basic food items or household goods. Another example is Netafim that sells an easy-to-use low-tech drip solution for smallholder farmers. The irrigation system reduces water use and improves crops by dripping precise quantities of water and nutrients right at the root zone of crops. An elevated tank distributes the water using gravity, thus doesn’t contribute to electricity costs. Payback period in one year and has been adopted in 11 countries so far. The Solar Suitcase has also already been introduced to 20 countries around Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The Suitcase provides enough solar electricity for medical lighting, mobile communication and essential medical devices for rural areas and humanitarian settings. This enables safe and timely obstetric care, which ultimately improves maternal and neonatal outcomes. Additionally, the innovation allows emergency surgeries to be conducted around-the-clock in rural hospital. By Laura Storm on

U.S. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2013
Annual CO2 emissions information was released by U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing year over year trends with particular focus on 2013 compared to 2012. Interesting statistics include:

  • Energy-related carbon emissions increased 2.5% in 2013 compared to 2012, party due to colder weather
  • In only three years since 1990 have emissions increased more: 1996, 2000, and 2010
  • Emission trends are approximated through the following factors: population, per capita output (GDP/population), energy intensity (energy use per dollar of GDP), carbon intensity (Co2 emissions per unit of energy)
  • Energy intensity drove the increase in emissions in 2013
  • Residential emissions were up most of any sector for both direct-use of fuels and electricity

In preparation for the upcoming elections next week, we would also like to share some of our posts: Act On Climate by Using Your Vote This November and Why You Should Care About Climate Change Part 3: Leaving a Legacy and What You Can Do. It is important that we (re)elect officials that take a stand on climate change, and ensure that climate change deniers do not end up in policymaking positions, especially with the Paris 2015 agreement insight next year.

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