Is it time to tear up the environmental rule book?
An environmental crisis of a different kind is brewing in the US. On the one hand, citizens want the Government to do more to tackle the growing effects of climate change. On the other, regulation has become convoluted and confusing. Is it time for a bonfire of red tape, a complete rethink of how regulation could shape the US’s future?
Bank Australia goes 100 per cent renewable
Finding a sustainable bank just became easier in Australia as Bank Australia committed to 100 per cent renewable energy. It will buy power from certified sources, including a wind farm in Western Victoria and install panels on its branch roofs. The bank has called on peers to follow its lead.
Copper mine ditches coal, moves to renewables
Having already stopped mining coal, Rio Tinto is backing up its green credentials by replacing a coal power plant with renewables. The move is taking place at a copper mine in Utah, where it will buy renewable certified energy to keep operations going. It follows an announcement the company would “publicly argue” against using coal for power generation.
Grapes in Vietnam are becoming a sustainable food source
Vietnam’s largest grape producing region is extending its sustainable food practices. Sweet and wine grapes are grown in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan, with demand far outstripping supply. The move will bring more land under the sustainable principles of the Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices programme, and move towards a 2,000 hectare target by 2030.
Food hackathon finds solutions to waste in India
A food hackathon in Calcutta helped students understand how to develop sustainable products. Combining educational workshops and hands-on activities, the students came up with ideas to reduce food waste, from new snacks using local produce to community websites redistributing waste food. The session was organised by Jugend Hackt, a German organisation that encourages student exchanges to tackle real-world problems.
Could the “circular economy” be a boom for small business?
Adopting a circular economy could create tens of thousands of new jobs, argues Anne van Riel of ING. Shortening supply chains would mean smaller, local suppliers employing more people to meet demand, while new jobs could be created in green tech, agriculture and recycling. Even without wholesale realignment of global economics, there are plenty of opportunities for small businesses to tap into the growing circular economy market.
Could your AC produce the fuel for your car?
In a highly theoretical paper, researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have proposed using AC units to crowdsource oil. CO2 would be sucked out of the air, combined with water and turned into fuel. The approach would require several technologies in development to advance to commercialisation, but does appear realistic.
Battery supply problems hitting i-Pace sales
Being unable to get batteries fast enough has hurt sales of Jaguar’s flagship EV – the i-Pace. It’s problem other companies have experienced as demand has far out-stripped supply. Not that it’s a bad thing for JLR, as the SUV can maintain a premium price thanks to scarcity. For everyone else this might be a sign EVs will remain an expensive luxury for the time being – at least until battery supply capacity increases.
Amsterdam will ban fossil vehicles by 2030
The Dutch city is phasing in a ban on fossil fuelled vehicles. The first target will be older diesels, gradually building to include buses, hybrids and even water vessels. Achieving this ambition could require the city to invest in up to 20,000 charging stations to get citizens into Battery EVs.
Tesla warns of mineral shortages without investment in mining
Growing demand for the minerals in batteries is going to have a profound impact if investment in mining doesn’t increase. That’s the stark warning from Tesla, whose electric cars rely on lithium, copper and other ores dug out of the ground. While recycling will have its part to play, the reality is we’ll need to dig more of it out of the ground in the short term.
New solar panels add grooves to increase efficiency
By adding small groves in the surface of their solar panels, researchers are hoping to increase the area exposed to the sun, and therefore generating power. The grooves allow the design to move certain components to the back of the panel, freeing up surface space on the front.
Image by Verkeorg and used under a Creative Commons licence