Connect with us


Aviation Sector Must Join Forces to Combat Emissions



A three-day meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was held this month. The meeting concluded with a warning that nations must work together to limit emissions in the aviation sector.  Currently there is a clear divide over how to share the advantages and disadvantages of pollution cuts in the sector.

Top officials were in attendance at the ICAO meeting from 11-13 May, where prominent environmental groups advocating for a “Flightpath to 1.5 degrees” warned that ICAO risked a high profile failure at its September assembly of delegations if it didn’t find ways to bridge key differences quickly.

At the meeting, held at ICAO’s Montreal headquarters, countries attempted to move forward a draft proposal for a global market based measure to limit net carbon dioxide emissions from international aviation to 2020 levels. The text will be taken up again at the June meeting of the ICAO Council, a governing body that includes key countries like the US, China, the UK, South Africa and Brazil. The environmental organizations that make up the campaign Flightpath 1.5 say the current version falls short of what is needed to meet ICAO’s own targets and the long-term temperature goals laid out in the Paris Agreement namely to limit the increase in global temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

In an apparent effort to bridge the divide between China and countries such as the US, Japan, Chile, and EU states, Singapore proposed a “pre-implementation phase” of the market-based measure. Many countries indicated their interest and desire to understand what such a phase would entail, but environmental observers of ICAO believes it’s risky. It must be designed to ensure that ICAO meets its 2020 emission goal, not delay effective action on aviation emissions.

In addition to the new concept of a pre-implementation phase, ICAO’s High-level Meeting last week yielded progress in some areas while delaying decision on or worsening other parts of the draft text being negotiated.

Solid progress was made in two areas:

Offset criteria: Countries intend for the offset criteria to be reflected by ICAO as standards, whereas before it appeared they would only be established as guidance. This is something Flightpath 1.5 NGOs have advocated for the past several months.

Reviewing the MBM and aligning it with the Paris Agreement: The review clause in the text of the market-based measure has greater detail and now explicitly calls for consideration of the necessary improvements to have the aviation industry contribute its fair share towards the long-term temperature goals in the Paris Agreement.

But some issues remain unresolved:

Emissions covered under the MBM: On the question of who will be covered by the program, delegates took a big step backward. Going into the talks, they considered a formula that would have exempted countries representing 33 per cent to 40 per cent of the program’s offset requirements in the first five years. By week’s end they exempted even more, representing around 50 per cent of all aviation emissions from the same period. As the negotiations continue over the coming months, delegates must search for a way to make up to this gap if ICAO is to meet their own 2020 emissions goal.

Differentiation of airline offsetting obligations: At the meeting delegates ultimately sidestepped the crunch issue of how to divide up emissions cutting responsibilities, with deep divisions remaining between slow growing and fast growing aviation states. There have been multiple references to exploring how to increase the coverage of international aviation emissions and thus increase the environmental integrity of the MBM.

The draft text of the MBM that countries are negotiating will be updated and forwarded for further negotiations in June. At the council meeting and in bilateral discussions, countries must work together to explore how to come to an agreement on crunch issues like differentiation and how to make up the current emissions gap, so ICAO is able to meet their own 2020 emissions target.

ICAO’s 191 Member States have spent 19 years wrangling over the issue of how to address international aviation pollution. In 2013, they gave themselves a deadline of October 2016 to finalize the global MBM. Unless action is taken, aviation’s climate pollution is forecast to triple in coming decades.


7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption



Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions |

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

Continue Reading


Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

Continue Reading