The world now recognizes the urgency of climate change. The climate trajectory we are on requires action on every front. While the Paris Agreement focuses on the reduction of emissions, it will not in and of itself solve the climate crisis facing humanity. Much more is needed — innovations, new technologies, research, clean energy, bio-based products. And there is hope. Almost daily, climate innovations are making headlines, providing optimism and the promise of a better future.

Climate Innovations

The following highlights but a few of the hundreds of new climate innovations surfacing all around us. Good things are happening. Many more are needed.

Connecting Food, Sustainability & Technology

The News On Climate Innovations, Below2C

Source: Global Food Innovation Summit, Milan, Italy, May 2017.

Speaking at a recent conference in Italy, Barack Obama emphasized that innovation is needed to reduce emissions from agriculture. In a warming world, the problem of emissions from food waste is critical. Food production will need to adjust to a hotter environment.

About a third of food produced each year is never eaten either because it is spoiled after harvest and during transportation, or thrown away by shops and consumers. (FAO – Food and agriculture organization)

Spoiled food ends up in landfills releasing GHGs harmful to our environment. Furthermore, the fuel, water, fertilizer and energy used up to grow, harvest, store and transport products to market is wasted.

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Autonomous Electric Ships

Almost every item we buy in stores is transported by trucks. Millions of trucks powered, for the most part, by dirty diesel engines pump millions of tons of emissions into the atmosphere each year. Norway is experimenting with small light vessels that can operate in the more restricted waterways of Nordic countries and Europe. Autonomous electric ships will use batteries or hydrogen fuel cells to power their propeller systems.

Once coastal use has been proven feasible, longer ocean voyages will be added to the testing protocol. In some scenarios, a convoy of small ships could traverse the open ocean together, with individual ships leaving the convoy to proceed on their own to ports along the way. (Steve Hanley)

Bio-based Stuff

Let’s agree that not only must our civilization get rid of our fossil-fuel dependent energy and transportation systems, but there’s that annoying not-so-little issue of the thousands of products we use every day that are made from oil – plastics, clothes, fibreglass, nylons, cosmetics, paints, etc.

Get ready to start changing your clothes, shoes and just about everything you buy with replacement bio-based alternatives. The movement to biodegradables is still in its infancy but we can expect to see the trend take off as product researchers, developers and manufacturers respond to market demand.

What that means to the environment, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture BioPreferred Program, is saving 6.8 million barrels of oil from use and avoiding 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.The USDA program says there are 2,700 certified bio-based products on the market — everything from Tide purclean detergent to Green Depot’s Bamboo plywood. (Source: GreenBiz, Barbara Grady)

The challenges we face demand unprecedented collective action from governments, world leaders, scientists and individuals from every walk of life. We are in a race against time.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Food waste should be composted…..not end up in landfills as garbage. Compost is gold. Compost is soil. Compost is the way the food web works…… Soil is composed of beneficial organisms. Soil is alive. If nature did not compost we would have no soil. The food is supposed to go back into the earth as compost…..otherwise the soil is poor & holds no nutrients. Soil feeds plants. Soil is plant food. I wish more people would understand the way nature works. Good soil absorbs carbon.

    • I agree Cynthia. There are ways to firstly avoid wood waste and secondly avoid the use of landfills to dispose of it when needed. Composting is the way.

      Thanks for your comments.

  2. I am all for new innovation, bio-alternative products and making sure we process our waste properly (composting, reusing and recycling ). We need to embrace many ways to do this as we know from the bio-fuel debacle, that producers will bulldoze virgin forests full of diversity just to plant a monoculture destined for the fuel pumps. But most of all, we need to find a way to slow population growth and needs! We do not live with infinite resources. We must be wise.

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