Transportation News

Hold the Beef. More Broccoli Please: Why Hong Kong’s Green Monday Movement Is Building a Flexitarian Globe

(3BL Media and Just Means)- After 13 years of pescetarianism, I might be reconsidering prosciutto and fried chicken. Tragic, to my purist, animal-loving friends, yes. But I feel like I don’t see the industrialization of animal production ending because I substitute tofu for chicken on my bacon-less Cobb salad. When I was a young twenty-something, I quickly gave myself to the anti-climate change, animal-loving campaigners at my university.

Florida’s Untapped Solar Power

(3BL Media/Just Means) I've spent the summer living in historic St. Augustine, Florida. The surf is great, the people are friendly and the sun shines brightly every single day. The sun is powerful here, powerful enough it seems to produce enough solar energy for most of the nation.

Electric Cars Are Coming on Strong

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Change takes time, but sometimes not as much time as one would have thought. A few short years ago, the idea of electric vehicles seemed like a tiny speck on a distant horizon—a toy for technophiles and early adapters. But even the Wall Street Journal says the EV’s will be here sooner than you think. And by here, they don’t mean on the fringes.

The numbers seem to bear this out. Worldwide, some 312,000 plug-in vehicles were sold in the first half of this year. That’s a 49% increase compared to last year. That growth rate, says Clean Technica, is roughly ten times that of the overall vehicle market. The biggest action was in China, where they grew 128% with home grown BYD vehicles providing the lion’s share. Japan came in second, and Europe, taken as a whole comes in third, with 21% growth before we get to the 18% growth seen here in the US.

Here at home, some 64,296 were sold through June. That is about one for every 150 cars sold. The top five models were Tesla Model S, Chevy Volt, Ford Fusion Energi PHEV, Tesla Model X, and Nissan Leaf with Tesla Model S sales roughly double that of the Leaf. Leaf sales have dropped recently in anticipation of a new model with significantly improved range, a phenomenon that has become common in the rapidly-changing EV world.

The tipping point, says WSJ, is the 200 mile range mark, which Tesla has already hit, and others, including the soon to be released Chevy Bolt, will meet and improve on.

Ways to Create Sustainable Packaging and Shipping

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Americans generate about 260 million tons of trash every year. Packaging materials alone account for about 40 percent of that waste. Clearly, for businesses to become more sustainable and reduce their environmental footprint, it is important to focus on packaging, shipping and logistics. Here are some solutions that address the issue.

Optimize the Size of Packages

Creating Eco-friendly Airport Systems for the Future

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Airports have traditionally been viewed as a prime source of anti-environmental activity. Whether it is the high amount of air pollution from the airplanes, the high energy consumption levels within the airport, or the noise pollution that is generated as a plane takes off or lands, the airport systems have been low on sustainability in almost every major area.

ICT Can Have a Huge Impact in Reducing Carbon Emissions

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - We hear a lot about smart technology these days: smart cars, smart cities, smart grid, etc., with an implied promise that these smart things will be far more efficient than their less gifted predecessors, thereby allowing us to reduce carbon emissions. Of course, those claims are generally being made by those selling the smart things, so then it’s fair to ask, how much of this is simply hype?

While the British telecommunications giant BT, is not exactly an objective source, their recent report, entitled, “The role of ICT in reducing carbon emissions in the EU,” takes an in-depth look at the opportunities being offered and then projects those savings forward. The results are certainly impressive. While technology alone cannot solve the problem, they can play a significant role, though clearly there will be commitments and investments required to realize this potential.

The report builds on the SMARTer 2030 report produced by GeSI with Accenture, which showed that globally, ICT could potentially hold 2030 emissions at 2015 levels. This report looks specifically at the EU, which is further along the path than many other places, has more resources, and perhaps commitment as well to allow it to go further.

According to the report, information and communications technology, or ICT, can potentially save 1.5 GT of CO2e in the year 2030. That’s fully 2.7 times greater than the full carbon emissions of the UK in 2012, and 37% of the EU’s 2012 emissions. Of course, we know that all those server farms and cell towers use a lot of energy themselves, but according to the report, the ICT emissions overhead is only about 5.3%.

Ontario Announces Major Plan to Combat Climate Change

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - The provincial government of Ontario has announced that it will spend over C$7 billion over the next four years in a broad-based effort to combat climate change that is expected to touch upon nearly every aspect of life. Some of these actions are quite innovative.

Among the actions are the phasing out of the use of natural gas for heating, as well as a number of incentives for everything from electric vehicles to building energy conservation retrofits.

The Climate Change Action Plan contains 32 distinct actions containing a total of 80 policies. Each action contains a price tag and an estimated amount of carbon reduction it is expected to achieve.

Many of the actions will be paid for by the province’s cap and trade system, which is expected to be in place at the beginning of next year.

Overall, the cap and trade system and the action plan are expected to cut emissions from 1990 levels by 15 per cent by 2020, by 37 per cent by 2030 and by 80 per cent by 2050.

FedEx Connects the World in Responsible Ways

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Brand loyalty of today’s consumers increasingly belongs to companies that care for the people and the planet. A Harvard Business Review report suggested that there is a strong link between corporate citizenship and profitability. According to the report, corporate citizenship can be a lot more than a cost or a constraint – it can be a source of innovation, opportunity, and competitive advantage.

Amazon Picks Up Its Game with New Sustainability Dream Team

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - If you type the words “Amazon sustainability” into Google, the first thing that comes up in the search is a link to books about sustainability that the online retail giant sells. The company sells books and lots of other things, online. It sells enough to fill 3.3 million boxes of various sizes and shapes each and every day. Amazon uses recycled cardboard to make those boxes, and makes reasonable efforts to make sure those boxes are shipped sustainably, but beyond that, the company, which has been an innovator in so many ways, is really behind the curve when it comes to sustainability.

According to Richard Matthews, writing in globalwarmingisreal.com, ““Amazon has consistently ranked near the bottom of most relevant activist lists, from Climate Counts to Greenpeace’s Green IT rankings. Amazon consumes vast quantities of energy and resources. The scope and size of their operations invite scrutiny and demand leadership. To date, the company has demonstrated an ongoing lack of transparency on environmental issues. Amazons is not involved with sustainability collaborations nor does it publish a sustainability report or report greenhouse gas emissions to CDP. Until the company publicly reports its impacts, performance and commitments criticisms are justified and its reputation is at risk.”

Beyond that, the company has received consistently low grades from Greenpeace on their data centers and criticized for their lack of transparency in their Amazon Web Services (AWS) operation. They have also received flack for the treatment of workers in their fulfillment centers, as well as corporate office workers, in what a NY Times story describes as “a bruising workplace.”

Apparently, they got the memo. The company has decided to address this by hiring a number of highly respected folks to take charge of this aspect of their operations. Back in 2014, they brought in Kara Hurst, as the company’s director of worldwide sustainability and social responsibility. Hurst is the former CEO of The Sustainability Consortium. This past August they brought in Christine Bader as Director of Social Responsibility. Prior to this Bader worked on social responsibility at BP and wrote the book, A Manifesto for the Corporate Idealist.

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