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Showing posts from July, 2019

The Japanese government is encouraging businesses to act against climate change

Japan's has set itself ambitious climate change objectives.
The Japanese government has announced itslong-term climate and growth strategyunder the Paris Agreement on climate change. The announcement comes ahead of the G20 Summit hosted by Japan this week (June 28-29) in Osaka. Japan's national legislature, the Diet. Image: Flickr/mbell1975 Japan's publication of the long-term strategy is a welcome contribution to the Paris Agreement process. Though it falls short of net-zero emission goals announced by other countries (such as the UKSweden and Costa Rica), it does include pioneering business engagement and innovation components. In fact, company actions are at the center of Japan's new long-term strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, making it the first country to provide explicit government support for companies to set science-based targets (SBTs) for their greenhouse gas emissions reductions. By stepping up with leading mitigation targets, Japanese companies…

Environmentalists have removed nearly 40 tonnes of trash from the Pacific

from the Pacific Plastic has a detrimental effect on entire marine ecosystems. Image: REUTERS/Amir Cohen The sailing cargo ship Kwai docked in Honolulu last month after a 25-day voyage with 40 tonnes of fishing nets and consumer plastics aboard, gathered from what has become known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The latest annual clean-up voyage by the non-profit Ocean Voyages Institute (OVI) used satellite imagery to specifically target discarded fishing gear. More than half a million tonnes of plastic nets - so-called ghost nets - are abandoned each year in oceans across the world, entangling and killing up to 380,000 sea mammals. The circulating ocean current known as the North Pacific Gyre is believed to contain 1.8 trillion plastic items weighing over 80,000 tonnes. Covering an expanse of ocean three-times the size of France, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch lies between Hawaii and California. OVI has mounted nine previous clean-up voyages to the area but says its latest haul …

This map shows that Mars and Earth aren't that different

The map uses data from centuries of observations to statistics collected on recent space missions. For centuries, Mars has been mythically defined by its characteristic red appearance. In Babylonian astronomy, Mars was named after Nergal, the deity of fire, war, and destruction. In Chinese and Japanese texts, the planet was known as 火星, the fire star. Although this unique reddish hue has been a key defining characteristic of Mars in culture for centuries, today we now know that it’s the iron oxide soil of the Martian landscape that makes it the “Red Planet” – and that there is much more to Mars than its color upon closer observation. Image: Visual Capitalist Above, today’s map, posted and created by Reddit user /hellofromthemoon, brings together the data from centuries of observation and the numerous missions to the Red Planet to map out its geology on a grand scale. A Red Dot in the Sky Egyptian astronomers first observed the planet Mars four thousand years ago and named it “Horus-the…

Our most powerful, high-tech climate solution? Our forests

Forests are the lungs of the Earth. Image: REUTERS/Yves Herman oes not mince words about the state of our planet: we must act now to achieve global change at a scale that has “no documented historical precedent” in order to avoid the climate catastrophe that would result from a 2 degree C rise in average global temperature. Climate change already disproportionately affects the world’s most vulnerable people including poor rural communities that depend on the land for their livelihoods and coastal communities throughout the tropics. Indeed, we have already seen the stark asymmetry of suffering resulting from extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires and more. So far, advocates and politicians have tended to focus on reducing fossil fuel consumption through technology and/or policy, such as a steep carbon tax, as climate solutions. These proposals are, of course, essential to reducing manmade carbon emissions—71 percent of which are generated by just 100 fo…

China by numbers: 10 facts to help you understand the superpower today

Forty years of economic growth. Image: REUTERS/Carlos Barria China, home to almost a fifth of the world’s population, is a country of superlatives. Forty years of economic growth, at an average of nearly 10% a year, has transformed the country into a global leader in technology and manufacturing. Its economy is now second only in size to the United States - larger if trade is taken into account - and it is home to six of the world’s megacities. Despite its trade dispute with the US, China enjoyed first-quarter growth of 6.4% this year, more than double the UN’s forecast for the rest of the world. Life expectancy has risen to 75 for men and 78 for women, according to the World Health Organisation. But despite all this, there are big challenges - particularly around greenhouse gas emissions, as huge economic growth has rapidly made China the world's biggest producer of CO2. Ahead of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, in July, here are 10 facts…