Back in 2015 Costa Rica ran on only renewable energy for the first quarter of the year, and since then they have improved. The country now regularly runs their power grid using only renewable sources and their new president wants to take that to the next level. The government announced that the long-term goal of Costa Rica is to decarbonize their entire energy consumption. Yes that means cars, boats, and anything else that currently consume fossil fuels.
“Decarbonization is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first,” said Alvarado, a former journalist and political scientist.
At 38, making him Costa Rica’s youngest ever president, Alvarado is keen to lead the way in environmental initiatives as “the world’s decarbonization laboratory,” meeting the demands of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The shipping industry recently agreed to care about the environment and this led the Guardian to examine how the industry will change. Here at Things Are Good we’ve been keeping an eye on old-school propulsion used on ships since 2005 and one difference now from over a decade ago is the efficiency of hybrid systems. Mixing solar, sails, and other kinds of enhancements with industrial shipping is being explored by all kinds of companies now. In another decade news that ships are more efficient than ever before will likely be standard news – stay tuned for 2028! In the meantime we can envisage what ships will look like and how they’ll reduce the carbon footprint of the shipping industry.
But much could be done more quickly by retrofitting existing ships with technology to cut their fuel use and hence emissions, according to the ITF. Here are just four:
Fitting ships’ bows with a bulbous extension below the water line reduces drag enough to cut emissions 2-7%;
A technique known as air lubrication, which pumps compressed air below the hull to create a carpet of bubbles, also reduces drag and can cut emissions by a further 3%;
Replacing one propeller with two rotating in opposite directions recovers slipstream energy and can make efficiency gains of 8-15%,
Cleaning the hull and painting it with a low-friction coating can deliver gains of up to 5%.
While Canada continues to condemn the future to climatic destruction by supporting the tar sands, their common wealth partner has decided to plan for the future. New Zealand has declared an all out ban on new offshore drilling projects and have even taken a step further to ban exploration for more stored hydrocarbons. Exploration for oil and gas greatly disturbs marine life forcing whales and fish to leave entire areas because the noise is so deafening.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern continues to do what every other national leader should be doing – acknowledging the current and oncoming challenges of climate change and reacting to it by creating a sustainable economy. It’s great to see New Zealand set itself up for future success while protecting the planet!
“We’re protecting industry and protecting future generations from climate change,” said Ardern.
“This is a responsible step, which provides certainty for businesses and communities that rely on fossil fuels.”
Ardern and the ministers are expected to outline plans for their version of a managed transition towards a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 and a goal of achieving 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035.
The impact that microfibres have on our environment are little known, but new research is coming out that makes microfibres look almost as bad as microbeads (which have been banned in a lot of places). Thankfully people are already working on solutions from better clothing processing to filters put on laundry machines. For now, the best thing you can do to alleviate additional pressure on the environment from your fashion choices is to simple buy less clothing.
Jollimore’s Lint luv-r could be a key weapon of defence against microfibres. After an ecologist in California first documented the pollutant as a global problem in 2011, several researchers became interested in testing Jollimore’s filter. (One test is showing it can catch over 80 percent of fibres.) Ross’s team is studying filters, including the Lint luv-r, as viable household solutions, and conducting a kind of forensic analysis on microfibre samples—matching a single fibre to its source. “I liken it to studying snowflakes,” he says. “We’re not talking about a chemical that we can measure in the lab.” Although the study of microfibres is still in early stages, the fact that our clothing could be poisoning waterways around the world would be an enormous hurdle for a clothing industry that has faced immense criticism over its lack of environmental responsibility.
Neonicotinoids kill bees, specifically their hives, and the EU just expanded their ban on neonicotinoids to help protect the world’s dying bee populations. Back in 2013 the EU banned pesticides with neonicotinoids in them when spraying pesticides on plants and flowers that attracted bees. That meant that the deadly chemicals could still get into the ecosystem and kill hives of bees, and researchers found that the best solution to protecting bees would be an outright ban on neonicotinoids. By this end of this year the total ban will be put in place.
Vytenis Andriukaitis, European commissioner for Health and Food Safety, welcomed Friday’s vote: “The commission had proposed these measures months ago, on the basis of the scientific advice from Efsa. Bee health remains of paramount importance for me since it concerns biodiversity, food production and the environment.”
The EU decision could have global ramifications, according to Prof Nigel Raine, at the University of Guelph in Canada: “Policy makers in other jurisdictions will be paying close attention to these decisions. We rely on both farmers and pollinators for the food we eat. Pesticide regulation is a balancing act between unintended consequences of their use for non-target organisms, including pollinators, and giving farmers the tools they need to control crop pests.”