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Germany’s G20 Presidency Must Focus On Climate Change And Sustainability

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Germany's G20 Presidency Must Focus On Climate Change And Sustainability

The German Presidency must use the G20 platform to mobilise international cooperation and action on climate change according to Climate Action Network.

Decisive action on climate change is vital to strengthening global stability, and achieving sustainable development, two pillars of the 2017 G20 agenda.

The G20 countries account for approximately 80 percent of global emissions. They have a responsibility to lead on several actions to ensure that climate change does not further endanger global stability.

By making climate-risk disclosure mandatory, the G20 can ensure that new investment in infrastructure is climate-resilient and low carbon. This is vital to avoid the serious risk of stranded assets, that threaten financial stability and economic growth.

Inefficient fossil fuel subsidies skew markets in favour of energy sources that are not environmentally sustainable and which fail to deliver long-term energy security.
G20 governments must unlock the potential in renewable energy sources that are now cost-competitive in many parts of the world. They must further commit to halt fossil-fuel based development and infrastructure investments. Green finance will be an essential enabling element in the necessary global energy transition to 100% renewable energy.

Mitigating and adapting to climate change will be key to global security, as the scale and frequency of extreme weather events threaten vulnerable communities and exacerbate the scarcity of natural resources.

In 2015, all G20 governments adopted the Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030-the Sustainable Development Goals. During COP 22 in Marrakech last month, 48 of the most vulnerable countries committed to transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2050. Now the world’s largest economies must ensure that their economic decisions are compatible with the commitments they made in Paris, and in line with the direction in which the global economy is moving.

Developing mid-century strategies for sustainable development and decarbonisation is a key step in ensuring stable and resilient national economies. Such long-term planning will send clear signals to the private sector, and build a framework for investments in line with development goals and those of the Paris Agreement.

Germany, at the helm of the G20 must reaffirm commitments to avoid irreversible climate change. It must through its G20 leadership, work to ensure a progressive outcome on global climate action.

We can’t afford to build new fossil fuel infrastructure, and we certainly can’t afford to waste even one more cent of public money on it

CAN members comment on the start of the German G20 Presidency

“Climate science tells us that the responsible thing to do is to stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure now. Germany should push the G20 in this direction, and at the very least, should advance the 2009 G20 promise to end fossil fuel subsidies. We can’t afford to build new fossil fuel infrastructure, and we certainly can’t afford to waste even one more cent of public money on it.” Alex Doukas, Senior Campaigner, Oil Change International

“As the G20 Presidency enters Europe for the next 12 months, Germany and the whole European Union should get behind an ambitious work plan that moves the world’s largest economies further away from fossil fuels and closer towards being fully renewables based and energy efficient. Germany together with the rest of the EU now have the opportunity to solidify their alleged climate leadership. This includes phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, increasing near-term climate action and getting down to business with the EU’s long-term decarbonisation strategy.” Wendel Trio, Director, Climate Action Network Europe

“As the world’s largest emitters and strongest economies, the G20 have a responsibility to act on climate change. The Paris Agreement has set a globally agreed framework for responding to the climate crisis, but we can only achieve the Paris objectives if the G20 now acts decisively on implementation. We welcome the emphasis the German presidency has announced to put on this issue. We expect chancellor Merkel to make it very clear that climate change has to be a priority, also vis-a-vis the incoming U.S. administration. All G20 countries need to agree to develop their mid-century decarbonization plans by 2018.” Christoph Bals, Policy Director, Germanwatch

Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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