The U.S. electric grid is outdated. Designed for a world that runs on fossil fuels, our grid needs some major tech upgrades in order to transition to a more distributed, all-renewable system. That means smart, internet connected hardware working in tandem with advanced data analytics software to ensure that supply and demand are balanced, even when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.
Hours after being sworn in as US 46th President, Joe Biden kicked off his mandate by signing 17 executive orders. Among those, some were destined to undo the legacy of his predecessor Donald Trump, including rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement. The new president seems to keep climate as his administration’s priority, as promised.
Around 390,000 new humans are born every day. So, on a planet with dwindling resources and an increasing strain on natural systems… is curbing our booming population the key to solving our environmental woes?
In 2018, just North America and China were responsible for almost half of the world’s CO2 emissions. These are also the countries with the highest concentrations of the world’s wealthiest people. Their populations are living longer and having fewer babies, so their population growth is actually slowing down. By contrast, the poorest half of the world—where most global population growth is currently concentrated — produces only 10% of the world’s CO2 emissions.
These populations typically lack the technology and wealth that result in high energy expenditure, increased industrialization, and pollution. So, in climate change projections that take these imbalances into account, it’s been shown that redistributing wealth—so, reducing both extreme wealth and extreme poverty—has as much impact on carbon emissions as reducing overall population would.
Even in projected scenarios where a reduction in population does make a difference in emissions, it’s not enough of a difference to affect projected temperature rise. No amount of population reduction would achieve the reduction in emissions necessary to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius in our near future.
A new generation of investors wants to force businesses to become environmentally-friendly. Even climate conservationists know that money talks, but can green investments really save the world? Green investment rewards companies that use sustainable production practices and protect the environment. At the same time, companies that pollute or contribute to global warming are deprived of funds.
The strategy converts the once secondary issue of the environment into hard, cold cash. Antonis Schwarz is 30 years old — and an investor, philanthropist, and activist. His slogan is “cash against climate change.” Schwarz, like many other wealthy millennials, sees climate change as the key variable when it comes to investing money. These people intentionally put their cash into companies and projects that protect the environment. Schwarz believes that those who are well-off have a special responsibility to follow this strategy. He says, “When you are able to change something and you don’t, you’re complicit. We all have to become fully involved, so we can prevent a climate disaster.”
This philosophy can be summed up with the following question: “What’s the point of having loads of money if it becomes worthless because you’re living on a planet that’s becoming increasingly chaotic?” Institutional investors have more money at their disposal than wealthy private individuals do. Their approach is also changing — and not out of pure idealism. Extreme weather events caused by climate change, for example, are bad for business. They can force corporations to write off billions in damages.
This documentary goes behind the scenes to take a closer look at the financial markets. How well does “impact investing” work? Can investors really move large, powerful corporations to change their strategies? Politicians have so far failed to do precisely that.
Climate change is about to upend the corporate world through weather-related disasters, regulation and lawsuits. Can businesses react and adapt in time? Read more here: https://econ.st/3slTXIE
Bolivia’s Tuni glacier is disappearing faster than initially anticipated, according to scientists in the Andean nation, a predicament that will likely make worse water shortages already plaguing the capital La Paz
When Covid-19 sparked lockdowns around the world, emissions of one of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change, atmospheric carbon dioxide, plummeted. But is this record drop a short-term effect of the 2020 pandemic or a ‘new normal’? BBC Weather’s Ben Rich explores the impact of coronavirus on the global climate.
Motion graphics by Jacqueline Galvin
Produced by Soraya Auer
Bill Gates outlines his vision for a global green revolution. He tells Zanny Minton Beddoes, our editor-in-chief, how renewable energy is merely the first step in combatting climate change.
Video timeline: 00:00 – How to fund a green economy 00:38 – Lessons from the pandemic 01:52 – Behaviour change v innovation in technology 03:36 – Most promising renewable technologies 04:31 – Private sector investment in green technology 06:30 – How essential are carbon prices? 07:50 – Net-zero emissions targets for businesses 09:39 – America’s role in climate-change action 12:40 – What are the odds for success of green innovation?
Despite overwhelming scientific evidence, some American politicians continue to deny that climate change exists, while others question the severity of its impact. But public opinion is shifting, and today even oil and gas companies publicly admit that climate change demands action. So why does climate denialism continue to influence U.S. politics? Here’s a look into who is funding the movement, and why denial is mainly a U.S. problem.
Between 1870 and 1973, the entire polar bear population of Svalbard was almost eradicated through hunting—almost 30,000 were killed. Today, polar bear numbers are climbing, but they face a new threat: climate change. And with the Arctic warming at a rate that’s twice as fast as elsewhere, the situation is becoming critical.