C40 mayors stand unified in fighting climate change
Nation states have failed to tackle climate change. What if a network of cities paved the way to a more sustainable world? Mark Watts is executive director of C40, a network of 91 of the world’s major cities, committed to bold action on climate change. Here is his perspective on this global issue.
Cities seen as ‘essential’ to growth in emissions trading
Delegates from 26 national and sub-national governments representing nearly half of the world’s economic output have pledged to strengthen cooperation in establishing “carbon markets” — while noting the special importance of such steps by cities and other local regions, particularly in the absence of national action.
As Harvey’s floodwaters recede, how should Houston rebuild?
For decades, Houston and its surrounding region has been one of the fastest growing metropolitan centers in the United States, with the population of Harris County rising from 1.75 million in 1970 to more than 4.5 million today. But as population soared, developers in southeast Texas were allowed to build on whatever land they could find, including wide swaths of drained wetlands, with little thought of flood risk.
Impact of Houston’s economy is felt well beyond its area
The Houston that was battered by Hurricane Harvey is an economic powerhouse whose influence reaches far beyond its region, leading many to worry about when its economy be able to stand up again. Houston is the fourth-largest U.S. city, with 2.3 million people, it is also headquarters for 20 Fortune 500 companies.
Financial tools to increase coastal resilience
Every decade or so there is a global catastrophe that redefines the conversation about public policy. For those interested in coastal development and climate change, Houston, Texas and Hurricane Harvey is that event. An estimated 127 centimetres of rain has fallen on the Greater Houston Area—so much rain that the National Weather Service had to update the colours used to map the rainfall.
Low-carbon buildings shift requires all governments to step up
Eight months ago, Canada’s first ministers set the stage for bold action in the building sector. They committed in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to pursue some of the lowest cost, most rapidly achievable ways to reduce carbon emissions. The time has come for governments at all levels to redouble their efforts and support the rapid and complete implementation of these measures.
Using equivalency agreements to advance Canadian climate policy
This report explores the function and historical significance of equivalency agreements established under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, and makes recommendations regarding their future use under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The Pan-Canadian Framework is Canada’s first truly national climate plan, and has set Canada on course to reach our 2030 national emissions target.
|The GRI: An interview with CEO Tim Mohin|
|This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), an independent body that has pioneered sustainability reporting from a niche practice to one now adopted by organizations around the world.|
|Forbes, September, 2017|
A revolution started in reporting standards
The concept of integrated reporting originates from the idea that enterprises, especially multinationals, should not just continue disclosing financial statements to secure the trust and confidence of the markets, their shareholders and investors. But they should also explain the impact of their businesses in creating the conditions for broad-based prosperity.
How green bonds can bridge infrastructure financing gaps
The Rockefeller Foundation, along with two financial partners, is launching a new challenge to fund so-called green infrastructure and resilience efforts in the United States. This comes at a portentous time, given the devastating flooding in Houston and President Donald Trump’s rollback earlier this month of resilient building standards for infrastructure projects.
Canada’s red hot green-bond market waits for more
Canada’s nascent market for green bonds is set to heat up after an offering in late August showed just how much demand there is for this kind of debt. Export Development Canada (EDC), a federal Crown corporation that lends money to exporters, raised $500-million last week earmarked for companies that promise to help the environment.
Will natural disasters lead to decentralized energy grids?
Hurricane Harvey caused power outages to thousands in and around Houston, with floodwaters making it still impossible to restore power to many customers. Natural disasters such as this can teach us many lessons, including the vulnerability of energy infrastructure.
|Urban trees save megacities $500 million a year|
|Trees in urban areas save megacities more than $500 million a year in public health costs, energy expenses, and environmental protection, according to a recent study in the journal Ecological Modelling.|
|Yale 360, September 5, 2017|
London apartment building made of Cross-Laminated Timber
It’s a really interesting mix of CLT, brick and yes, wicker. Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT, or crosslam) is a fascinating material. It was invented in Austria about 20 years ago to use up bits of lumber that were left over after cutting out the big stuff, and now it is finding its way into taller buildings all over the world.
How to make data centers more energy efficient
Cache servers are a fixture behind most modern websites. A major search engine such as Google may have as many as 1,000 servers dedicated solely to caching. Now, there is a way to reduce the energy consumption of such services. Researchers from MIT have introduced a new system for data center caching that uses flash memory over the traditional RAM memory.
Opinion: Building-energy benchmarking can save money
Local governments and some property owners all across B.C. want large buildings to be required to track their energy and water consumption, and to report this data to the province every year. This practice, known as building-energy benchmarking, is a key tool for driving conservation and efficiency, and reducing carbon pollution.
New organization ramps up green building standards
The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) has created a joint venture with Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) to create Green Business Certification Inc. Canada, a new organization that will focus solely on project certification and professional credentialing of green buildings and businesses.
IKEA is now selling solar systems, no Allen key required
So far the panels and batteries are only offered in the UK but it might spread to sunnier North American climes. Tesla’s subsidiary SolarCity recently changed its marketing to what Bloomberg calls “the Apple Store Strategy” of upscale stores in shopping malls and high traffic areas, but soon might have to compete against the master of marketing, IKEA.
Industrial lighting system converts blue light to green, yellow
Companies that produce milk, beer, pharmaceuticals, and semiconductors have been wary to adopt LED technology because the blue-light wavelength causes photochemical degradation and photo-oxidation damage to the products being made. These industries have had to use colored packing and UV coating solutions to protect against the harmful blue light.
Opinion: Start contributing to sustainability through innovation
Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman wryly observes, the mere mention of even modest environmental regulations – a phased-in cap on GHG emissions, a price on carbon far below its true cost – is corporate kryptonite. Once omniscient and omnipotent corporations crumble in the absence of anything short of complete regulatory certainty.
Utilities grapple with rooftop solar and new energy landscape
In the prevailing narrative of the rooftop solar industry, the dominant theme is combat. Thus The New York Times headlined a recent story, “Rooftop Solar Dims Under Pressure from Utility Lobbyists,” while a Vox headline declared contrarily that, “Utilities fighting against rooftop solar are only hastening their own doom.”
Cities aspiring to 100-percent renewables share this in common
The mission is ambitious, the motivations are myriad and the methods are many. What’s more, the progress is notoriously difficult to measure. But that hasn’t discouraged dozens of cities, towns (and even islands) across the United States from declaring their intention to go “100 percent renewable” with their electricity purchases.
Target, U.S. Bank join Ceres
The sustainability nonprofit organization Ceres announced today that Target (NYSE: TGT) and U.S. Bank (NYSE: USB) have joined the Ceres Company Network. As new members of the Ceres Company Network, Target and U.S. Bank join more than 50 companies, including dozens of Fortune 500 firms, committed to achieving sustainability goals and improving resiliency in their operations and supply chains.
Five technology trends defining the future of corporate sustainability
Corporate sustainability practices and reporting will be radically transformed in this era of rapid digital and technological change. Technological advances and increasing demand for real-time updates are going to bring a number of transformations in the way sustainability is monitored, implemented and reported.
How data is empowering city climate action
As Michael Bloomberg says: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it and you can’t fix it.” Cites are leaders in the transition to sustainable economies but first they need to know where they stand. The first step for cities to get on the sustainability ladder is to measure and report.
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