Economic Growth No Longer Tied To Increased Carbon Output

People used to (and some lacklustre individuals still) argue that environmental regulations will wreak economic havoc, hopefully we’ll no longer listen to such irrational arguments. For decades environmentalist and knowledgable people have used data to prove that economies can grow while also protecting the environment. Turns out, the data was right.

The International Energy Agency has announced for the last two years carbon dioxide emissions remain unchanged even though the global economy has improved. There is still room for improvement around the world so it’s even possible to see a decrease in carbon dioxide output while having an increase in economic activity.

“The new figures confirm last year’s surprising but welcome news: we now have seen two straight years of greenhouse gas emissions decoupling from economic growth,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in a news release.

The change is because of the rapid adoption of renewable energy, especially for electrical generation, the IEA said.

Electricity generated by renewables accounted for around 90 per cent of new electricity generation in 2015, with wind alone producing more than half of new electricity generation.

The IEA’s conclusion that economic growth can continue without needing increased amounts of fossil fuels is preliminary, like its data, which will be explored in a more complete report in June.

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Shower Once a Week

In the developed world people tend to use more water than they should, in fact water consumption in many nations have done irreparable damage. Canadians are really bad at water conservation and we have a lot to learn from other places in how we regulate our water usage. Governments can only do so much with policy to curb industrial and individual usage. There is something you can do everyday to help lower your impact on the ecosystem: shower less.

Yes, you should spend less time cleaning yourself. Showering everyday isn’t good for your skin and it’s really really really (like really) bad for the environment. Even cutting out one shower a week can save you time, money, and your local ecosystem.

The daily bath or shower, then, is terrible for the environment and our bank balances. That’s one reason I have reverted to a weekly shower, with a daily sink-wash that includes my underarms and privates. But there are health consequences too. I first became aware of these when I was a touring ballet dancer and met a friend whose skin had been severely damaged by excessive use of soap products. He was condemned to treat himself with medical creams for the rest of his life. According to dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, parents should stop bathing babies and toddlers daily because early exposure to dirt and bacteria may help make skin less sensitive, even preventing conditions like eczema in the long run. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends three times a week or less as toddlers’ skin is more sensitive; and as the elderly have drier skin, they should not be frequently washing all of their bodies with soap.

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What’s That? Use Your Phone to Identify Plants

Pl@ntNet is an app that can identify plants using the camera on your mobile. Presently, it’s limited primarily to Western Europe (since it was in France),Indian Ocean, and parts of South America. The technology behind it can be used to extend it elsewhere and let’s hope it gets more global support.

“What makes the project unique and innovative is that it is based on data collected through a large and dynamic social network that regularly collects field data, that shares this data, meaning that this knowledge is constantly updated which also allows the use of a certain number of visual patterns expressed by plants”.

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Al Gore is an Optimist About Climate Change

In 2006 Al Gore released An Inconvenient Truth which was a film that changed the discourse around climate change by bringing knowledge to those who were ignorant about basic environmental knowledge. In the last two years there has been positive movement towards making the human-built world more eco-conscious but we do have a lot further to go. In this TED talk Al Gore goes into why he’s optimistic about the next ten years.

Al Gore has three questions about climate change and our future. First: Do we have to change? Each day, global-warming pollution traps as much heat energy as would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs. This trapped heat is leading to stronger storms and more extreme floods, he says: “Every night on the TV news now is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.” Second question: Can we change? We’ve already started. So then, the big question: Will we change? In this challenging, inspiring talk, Gore says yes. “When any great moral challenge is ultimately resolved into a binary choice between what is right and what is wrong, the outcome is foreordained because of who we are as human beings,” he says. “That is why we’re going to win this.”

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China to Close 1,000 Coal Plants

China was building coal power plants at an alarming rate over the last couple of decades and the repercussions of that policy have been felt. Pollution throughout the country kills thousands and has gotten so bad at times that parts of the country essentially close. Coal is largely to blame.

The pollution released by those plants is massive compared to alternatives like natural gas (still gross) and renewables (the best!). Indeed, China is cashing in on the global trend towards renewable energy by increasing their domestic production of wind turbines and solar voltaic plants. Finally they will benefit from this internally by closing 1,000 coal plants and replacing it with alternatives.

Thanks to this effort from China we will breath a little better in the years to come.

The news was confirmed on Monday by China’s National Energy Administration, and first reported by Xinhua, the state-run outlet, after detailed plans to slash coal consumption were issued earlier this month by the country’s powerful executive body, the State Council. The move will accelerate China’s well-documented shift away from coal.

The news comes as a Chinese firm topped a reputable global ranking for wind energy production for the first time, besting US giant General Electric. Chinese companies already lead the world in solar energy production.

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Thanks to Delaney!

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