Polar Bears International

4/18/2014 12:33:41 PM

Good News Friday {Cost-effective Carbon Cuts, Corporate Responsibility, Bottle Ban, Glow-in-the-Dark Roads)

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is affordable and even global corporations are demanding change. San Francisco is banning plastic bottles and the Dutch are making their roads glow. We cover all this in today's Good News Friday.

• It turns out that reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the levels needed to avoid catastrophic climate change is surprisingly inexpensive. In fact, GDP would drop by only 0.06 percent over the next century. "It doesn't cost the world to save the planet," said economist Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, who led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) team. Here at PBI, we are doing our part, and you can join us. Read more.  

• Top global corporations are taking some responsibility for their carbon emissions and asking the U.S. Government to hold them accountable. Royal Dutch Shell, Cisco, and Unilever are among eighty-nine companies worldwide who have signed a statement urging governments to implement measures limiting cumulative carbon emissions, calling for a 1 trillion ton cap that would prevent global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the generally accepted limit to stem the worst effects of climate change. Simultaneously, companies including Starbucks, eBay, and Microsoft are backing a similar declaration urging Congress to enact proposed climate change legislature. Read more

• The U.S. Government is taking a stand against carbon in its own departments. The U.S. Army announced plans on Monday to begin construction on the Department of Defense's largest solar array on a military installation. Groundbreaking for the 20-megawatt project will take place on April 25, with commercial operations slated to begin late this year. It will provide about a quarter of the annual electricity use for Fort Huachuca in southeast Arizona. Read more

• San Francisco has made another step towards greening the city this week, with a recent ordinance to ban the sale of plastic water bottles on city-owned property. The city's Board of Supervisors approved the measure unanimously on Tuesday; it will head to the mayor's desk after one more board approval. The ordinance exempts sporting events and gives food trucks and large nonprofits until 2018 to comply with the new ordinance.

Plastics are made from fossil fuels—four percent of the world's annual petroleum production is converted directly into making plastics, and another four percent gets burned to fuel the process. plastics use releases at least 100 million tons, and maybe as much as 500 million tons, of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. That's the equivalent of the annual emissions from 10 to 45 percent of U.S. drivers. Read more.  

• The Dutch are also taking a step into a greener future, but rather than banning plastics, they are testing glow-in-the dark roads that could eliminate the need for streetlights. Road construction companies Studio Roosegaarde and Heijmans painted a short test patch of N329 highway in Oss with photoluminescent paint, a sort of amped-up version of what is found on many wristwatches. The paint charges up during daylight hours and then emits the green hue at night. Read more

Have a great weekend!

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