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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Top news and views about #Environment and #Cleantech for 19 Mar 2017


Welcome to the Crowdify digest of interesting and important news and views about Environment and Cleantech.


Europe Faces Annual Extreme Coastal Floods in Future

Europe Faces Annual Extreme Coastal Floods in Future


The kind of extreme coastal flooding events that today hit parts of Europe roughly once every hundred years could happen annually by the end of the century as the climate continues to change, a new study suggests.

Such “rare catastrophic events, which most of us have not experienced, will become a part of most Europeans’ lives,” study leader Michalis Vousdoukas, a coastal oceanographer at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, said in an email.

The analysis, detailed in the journal Earth’s Future, is the first to take into account not only sea level rise due to warming temperatures, but also the impacts of climate change on storm surge and wave activity when estimating future flood risk. Those two factors have played a key role in the worst flooding disasters, and so are important to consider because “it's always the extreme events that are important in terms of impacts, since they are explosive and unpredictable,” Vousdoukas said.

That seas are rising as the planet heats up is one of the clearest outcomes of climate change. Currently, seas are rising by about an inch per decade, though rates vary from region to region because of local land rise and subsidence. If greenhouse gas emissions aren’t curbed, global seas could rise by 10 inches to 2.5 feet, on average, by the end of the century, according to the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

Full story at http://bit.ly/2mWBMYs

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Microplastics in Oceans Outnumber Stars in Our Galaxy by 500 Times

Microplastics in Oceans Outnumber Stars in Our Galaxy by 500 Times


The United Nations is "declaring war" on the biggest sources of planetary pollution—ocean plastic. On Thursday, the intergovernmental organization's environment program (UNEP) launched its #CleanSeas campaign at the World Ocean Summit hosted by The Economist in Bali, Indonesia.

The unprecedented global initiative urges governments and businesses to take measures to eliminate microplastics from cosmetics and personal care items, ban or tax single-use plastic bags and dramatically reduce other disposable plastic items by 2022. Everyday citizens are also encouraged to join the fight.

Ten countries have already joined the campaign. Indonesia aims to reduce marine litter by 70 percent by 2025. Uruguay will tax plastic bags later this year. Costa Rica will implement better waste management and education strategies to slash single-use plastic.

Estimates say that 8 million tonnes of plastic ending up in our oceans every year, wreaking havoc on aquatic life and ecosystems and costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems. If plastic continues to be dumped at its current rate, the oceans will carry more plastic than fish by 2050 and an estimated 99 percent of seabirds will have ingested plastic by then.

Full story at http://bit.ly/2mWxCjj

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The climate change battle dividing Trump’s America

The climate change battle dividing Trump’s America


Ever since Donald Trump became US president, certain sectors of American society have felt particularly embattled. His statements on Mexicans and Muslims are notorious, but there is another community, less heard about, that has also been sent reeling: scientists.

If politics has never been a world that is overly respectful to empirical research, Trump’s victory exploited a growing popular suspicion of expertise, and a tendency to seek out alternative narratives to fact-based analysis. Conspiracy theories, anti-vaccination campaigns and climate change deniers have all traded on this rejection of science, and their voices have all been heard, to differing degrees, in the new administration. But for the science community perhaps the most provocative act so far of Trump’s short time in office was the appointment of Scott Pruitt, a Republican lawyer and climate change sceptic, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“I’d say a lot of Trump’s cabinet picks are not ideal,” says Shaughnessy Naughton, of the science activist group 314 Action. “But Pruitt is really an offence to the organisation. He’s spent his career suing the EPA. He’s for state rights when it’s for polluters and against state rights when it’s for conservation or protecting the environment.”

Naughton is the founder of 314 Action, which seeks to promote Stem – science, technology, engineering and maths – education and help scientists become politicians. The name refers to the first three digits of the mathematical ratio pi, a scientific imprint that occurs everywhere in life. But too often, Naughton believes, science has remained aloof from politics, while politics has grown less troubled about getting involved in science.

Full story at http://bit.ly/2mWGJ3B

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What does it mean to buy something sustainable?

What does it mean to buy something sustainable?


Not that long ago, sparing a thought for how your business affected the environment was considered little more than a hindrance to healthy profits.

But since the later part of last century, taking a sustainable approach in business, government and organisations has become indispensable.

“Decades ago, the early birds who valued sustainability were the so-called alternative lifestylers, because they were in the minority,” says Australian sustainability expert Howard Nielsen, from NACC Sustainability People.

However, in the past five to 10 years it has become clear that doing business while adhering to environmentally sustainable practices can benefit everyone from the business or organisation itself to their employees, consumers, communities and the planet.

Full story at http://bit.ly/2mWMazt

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