Are We Back To Our Wasteful Ways Of Using Water?
05 Jul, 2019

Each one of us must respond urgently to the national water crisis. In Metro Manila, our complacency has been jolted twice already.

When water started flowing again after the first wave of the water shortage, we went back to our wasteful ways. We leave the tap open when cleaning our hands or washing our clothes.

Take note of the following: At least 55 people die every day from water-related causes; 300 out of our 1,500 municipalities are totally without water; and irrigation today provides only 50 percent of supply needs. There is simply not enough water available from our severely diminished water tables and sources.

In view of this, the Movement for Water Security (MWS) made eight recommendations for the government to implement immediately. These were submitted and discussed during the congressional water hearing on June 25, and at the Department of Agriculture (DA)-attached Philippine Council of Agriculture and Food Climate Change Committee meeting on June 26.

Source: Business Inquirer - https://business.inquirer.net/273943/are-we-back-to-our-wasteful-ways-of-using-water

China Doubles Down on Economic Globalization
04 Jul, 2019

China is committed to building an open economy within the framework of globalization, said Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China, at the opening plenary of the World Economic Forum’s 13th Annual Meeting of the New Champions.

Premier Li reaffirmed China’s readiness to work with the international community to steer economic globalization.

“We now live in a world of profound interdependence,” he stressed. “Countries rely on each other’s markets. No country can single-handedly provide all resources … or offer all needed goods to consumers. Nor can any country sustain its development in isolation from the global system.” Li underlined that “fundamental principles, such as free trade, must be upheld.”

Source: Modern Diplomacy - https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/07/04/china-doubles-down-on-economic-globalization/

Construction Commences On New Section Of China-Russia Gas Pipeline
04 Jul, 2019

Construction work started on the middle section of a major China-Russia energy cooperation project on Thursday. Starting from Northeast China's Jilin Province and ending in North China's Hebei Province, the section is expected to alleviate natural gas shortages in Northeast China and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, China Central Television (CCTV) reported.

The 1,110-kilometer section is expected to be completed in October 2020, said the report.

"China and Russia enjoy a stable relationship, and they have been comprehensive strategic partners of coordination in various spheres," Lin Boqiang, dean of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

The huge pipeline project is intended to stabilize China's energy supply through cooperation with a stable partner, Lin said, especially as China's demand for natural gas still has huge growth potential.

Source: Global Times - http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1156811.shtml

China Shrimp, Tilapia Production To Take Hit As Hainan Gov’t Zoning Rules Areas Off Limits
04 Jul, 2019

The provincial government of Hainan plans zoning restrictions which would see much of the island become off-limits for aquaculture, impacting one of China's biggest production regions.

Announced last week, the "Hainan aquaculture waters and coastal zoning plan 2018-2030" could see up to 40% of current tilapia farming area off-limits to aquaculture, an industry source told Undercurrent News, should farms be located in newly protected areas or fail to conform to environmental regulations. 

The act underlines the uneasy relationship between aquaculture and other industries -- such as tourism -- as China’s economy develops. Near Sanya, south Hainan, holiday resorts and five-star hotels line the coast drawing holidaymakers from the mainland.

Source: UCN - https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2019/07/04/china-shrimp-tilapia-production-to-take-hit-as-hainan-govt-zoning-rules-areas-off-limits/

From ‘Micro-Factories’ To Urban Farming: These Innovative Firms Are Shaping The Future
04 Jul, 2019

The World Economic Forum today unveils its 2019 Technology Pioneers: tech firms from around the world, shaping their industry and their region in new and exciting ways. The 2019 cohort was selected by a committee of 59 leading technology experts, investors and entrepreneurs.

“Our new tech pioneers are at the cutting edge of many industries, using their innovations to address serious issues around the world,” says Fulvia Montresor, Head of Technology Pioneers at the Forum. “This year’s pioneers know that technology is about more than innovation – it is also about application. This is why we believe they’ll shape the future.” 

As part of their selection, all Technology Pioneers can participate in a two-year programme with the Forum, when they have the opportunity to collaborate with their emerging tech peers, engage with industry leaders and work with public and private experts around the world. The 2019 cohort is invited to participate at the Forum’s upcoming meeting, the 13th Annual Meeting of the New Champions, Dalian, People’s Republic of China, 1-3 July.

Source: Modern Diplomacy - https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/07/04/from-micro-factories-to-urban-farming-these-innovative-firms-are-shaping-the-future/

European Bike Share Operators Join Cycling Industries Europe
04 Jul, 2019

The bike share sector is expected to grow from the current 3-5 vehicles per 1000 residents in major European cities to 10-20 vehicles per 1000 residents in the next five years representing a growth of 20-30 percent per year.

Leading European bike share operators and suppliers – Donkey Republic, Mobike, Moventia, nextbike, PBSC, Ride on, Smoove and Jump by Uber – have joined forces to form an Expert Group under Cycling Industries Europe (CIE). Providing bike share services in more than 300 cities with 63 million rides in 2018 in Europe the Expert Group forms a powerful advocacy for the sector.

Source: Bike-EU - https://www.bike-eu.com/industry-retail-organizations/nieuws/2019/07/european-bike-share-operators-join-cycling-industries-europe-10136115?vakmedianet-approve-cookies=1&_ga=2.147037559.1577340803.1562298159-1302583470.1562298159

Green Belt, Road Development To Underscore Capacity Building
03 Jul, 2019

During the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) last April, China reaffirmed its commitment to build a green Silk Road by advancing green infrastructure construction, green investment and green finance to ensure a sustainable future for all humanity. 

Participants at the ongoing Annual Meeting of the New Champions in China's northeast city of Dalian applauded the country's engagement and calls for further capacity building to deliver a greener Belt and Road. 

Chinese leaders are signaling their desire to take the initiative to the next level as they will bring some social indicators into Belt and Road development, observes Elizabeth Knup, head of the Ford Foundation's China office. 

From the environmental point of view, China has developed a lot of cutting-edge technologies and approaches that could help Belt and Road countries.

Source: China.org.cn - http://www.china.org.cn/business/2019-07/03/content_74949122.htm

Official: Rural Development Won't Harm Environment
03 Jul, 2019

Rejuvenation of rural areas in China will not be achieved at the cost of damage to the environment, a top agricultural official said on Monday.

“We cannot repeat our past mistakes to pollute first and then address pollution in the development of rural areas. We must follow a path of sustainable development,” Yu Xinrong, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said.

Yu said the environment in some rural places was badly damaged during industrial development in these areas in the 1980s and such development will not be repeated.

Authorities will guide green development of agriculture through the formulation and revision of national and industrial standards, including those on the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

Source: Global China Daily - http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201907/03/WS5d1bf22ca3105895c2e7b49e.html

China's New Green Deal
02 Jul, 2019

From a climate perspective, the ideal scenario would be for China to shut down all of its coal-fired power plants and switch over to clean energy like solar. But that can’t happen — China’s energy economy is like a massive ship that cannot turn on a dime.

China is going green, however, just not the way you think. China signed the Paris Agreement, which includes a promise to install 800 gigawatts to 1,000 gigawatts of new renewable capacity by 2030, an amount equivalent to the capacity of the entire U.S. electricity system.

China and the United States have roughly the same land mass; however, China has 1.3 billion people to the United States’ 325 million. It needs an electricity system that is much larger, so adding the renewable equivalent of one entire U.S. electricity system is not enough to replace coal in the near to medium term — not even close.

To bridge the gap, China is rolling out new technologies to drastically reduce local air pollution and climate emissions from the nation’s remaining coal plants as well as building a host of new ones.

Source: Energy & Capital - https://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/china-s-new-green-deal/92837

China To Boost Battery Storage Technology For Clean Energy
02 Jul, 2019

China's top economic planner has issued an action plan to boost the development of energy storage technology in the coming two years, calling for more new energy vehicle power battery storage applications.

The action plan aims to boost the healthy development of energy storage technology and industry in China and support the construction of a clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient energy system and the development of high-quality energy, according to the National Development and Reform Commission Monday.

The action plan, known as the implementation of "guidance on promoting the development of energy storage technology and industry" for 2019 and 2020, comprises six major parts, including strengthening the research and development of advanced energy storage technologies and upgrading intelligent manufacturing.

Source: Xinua - http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-07/02/c_138192496.htm

Shanghai Uses Gags, Memes To Make Sense Of New Recycling Rules
01 Jul, 2019

What’s new in Shanghai? Residents of China’s wealthy eastern megacity have embarked on an all-consuming learning spree to identify garbage types, as new recycling rules take effect. 

On Sunday, local officials held city-wide events to educate residents about four types of household waste, a day before regulations on garbage sorting went into force on July 1. 

At the central business district of Jingan, performers struck forceful beats on tall garbage cans in a synchronized drum performance. Other districts like Yangpu adapted the lyrics of a hit song into garbage sorting lore. 

“Hey there food waste, all your herbal dregs, eggshell, fruit peels, and leftovers, can become awesome compost!” a group of modern dancers performed to these lyrics.

Source: Inkstone - https://www.inkstonenews.com/society/shanghai-resort-memes-and-gags-solve-confusions-arisen-garbage-sorting/article/3016789

This Chinese Megacity Is Building A Giant Waste-To-Energy Plant
01 Jul, 2019

The architects of what is set to be the world’s largest waste-to-energy plant describe their creation as simple, clean and iconic. It’s a mammoth structure which sits on the outskirts of the city of Shenzhen in southern China and once operational will process up to 5,000 tonnes of waste each day.

With a population of 20 million people, the city produces a lot of waste: about 15,000 tonnes daily according to SHL Architects, which will be used by the plant to generate electricity.

Part of the attraction of waste-to-energy technology is that it’s a dual-purpose solution – it rids urban areas of their growing waste problem, while generating electricity as a byproduct.

But the Shenzhen plant and has met with opposition from local residents and environmental groups who fear it will emit dangerous levels of dioxins and other toxins.

Source: World Economic Forum - https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/07/one-of-china-s-biggest-megacities-is-building-a-giant-waste-to-energy-plant/

Climate Change Can Pose Big Risks To Real Estate Investments
28 May, 2019

Climate change could dramatically alter the value of real estate investments.

And that goes for real estate investment trusts, companies that own income-producing real estate, if they do not shift their investment strategies to address growing risks, industry experts say.

A 2018 report found that 35% of REIT properties have geographic exposure to climate hazards, including inland flooding, typhoons or hurricanes, and coastal flooding and elevated sea levels. The research evaluated 73,500 properties owned by 321 REITs.

Source: CNBC - https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/28/climate-change-can-pose-big-risks-to-real-estate-investments.html

UN Warns Poor Waste Management Threatens Human Settlement Globally
28 May, 2019

The United Nations on Tuesday warned that poor waste management threatens human settlement globally.

Andre Dzikus, coordinator of urban basic services branch at the UN Habitat, said that inadequate waste management coupled with increasing urbanization and population growth is becoming a major threat to humanity.

"We are calling on city authorities to join 'Waste wise cities campaign' to help them provide basic urban services that are crucial to creating a better quality of life of populations," Dzikus told journalists on the sidelines of the ongoing first UN-Habitat Assembly in Nairobi.

Dzikus revealed that 2 billion people currently do not have access to municipal solid waste collection services while another 3 billion people lack access to controlled waste disposal facilities. He warned that if not addressed, dumpsites will produce 8-12 percent of the global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

Source: China.org.cn - http://www.china.org.cn/world/Off_the_Wire/2019-05/28/content_74831887.htm

European Commission Launches ‘Europe’s Eyes on The Earth’ Roadshow
27 May, 2019

Copernicus is Europe’s system for monitoring the Earth and collects data from several satellites and sensors on the ground stations, in the air, and at sea. Data is collected for a wide range of applications, including environment protection, urban management, regional and local planning, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, health, transport, climate change, sustainable development, civil protection, and tourism.

Launched over 20 years ago, the programme is now the largest of its kind in the world. Seven satellites are currently in orbit producing more than 12 terabytes per day of high-resolution information for six key themes: land, marine, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management, and security.

Source: European Scientist - https://www.europeanscientist.com/en/public/europes-eyes-on-the-earth-roadshow/

European Cities Target Net-Zero Carbon Buildings By 2050
24 May, 2019

A coalition of eight European cities – including Madrid, Wroclaw, and Leeds – have pledged to completely decarbonise their existing building stocks by 2050.

The commitment is called Build Upon2 and is being convened by the World Green Building Council (WGBC).

It will see the cities collaboratively develop and implement a built environment renovation and retrofitting framework aimed at boosting residents’ wellbeing and local economies while dramatically reducing carbon emissions across all Scopes.

As the framework is implemented over the years, the cities will be required to use local-level data to lobby for national policymakers to set equally ambitious net-zero legislation for buildings.

Source: Euractiv - https://www.euractiv.com/section/climate-strategy-2050/news/european-cities-target-net-zero-carbon-buildings-by-2050/

From No Recycling To Zero Waste: How Ljubljana Rethought Its Rubbish
23 May, 2019

It began in 2002 with separate collection of paper, glass and packaging in roadside container stands. Four years later, the city began collecting biodegradable waste door to door; separate collection of biowaste is set to become mandatory across Europe in 2023, but Ljubljana was nearly two decades ahead of the curve. In 2013, every doorstep in the city received bins for packaging and paper waste. And, most controversially, scheduled collections of the residual waste were cut by half – forcing people to separate their rubbish more efficiently.

The results have been impressive. In 2008, the city recycled only 29.3% of its waste and was lagging behind the rest of Europe. Today that figure is 68%, and its landfill receives almost 80% less rubbish, putting it at the top of the recycling leaderboard of EU capitals.

Source: The Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/may/23/zero-recycling-to-zero-waste-how-ljubljana-rethought-its-rubbish

3 Ways Sustainable Finance Is Reshaping Asia's Capital Markets
22 May, 2019

This year, Asia will account for half of the world’s GDP growth. And while this has undoubtedly improved living standards and reduced poverty in recent years, such gains have come at a cost.

Degraded natural resources and ecosystems, worsened water stresses, and increased levels of hazardous waste, comprise just some of the many unintended byproducts of Asia’s resource-intensive growth model–exposing the entire region to a domino effect of risks. Take water, for example, one recent study by MIT suggests that more than 100 million people in the region could endure severe shortages over the next decade, with devastating impacts on food security, economic growth and political stability. Without meaningful action to address climate risks, GDP in the Asia-Pacific region could decrease by more than 3% by 2050–a significant erosion of the region’s economic gains in recent decades. Furthermore, Asia-Pacific economies still feature among the highest rates of income inequality in the world. In this region, one percentage point increase in the Gini coefficient, a generally accepted measure of inequality, reduces GDP per capita by $154.

Source: Forbes - https://www.forbes.com/sites/deepalikhanna/2019/05/22/3-ways-sustainable-finance-is-reshaping-asias-capital-markets/#661983825170

Solar Street Lighting Market: Rising Global Inclination Towards Renewable Energy Sources To Foster Growth – TMR
22 May, 2019

The global solar street lighting market is transcending as a highly lucrative sector, on account of the presence of a myriad player, notes Transparency Market Research. Several growth opportunities in the market have attracted numerous players, which makes the market’s competitive landscape fragmented. Many renowned players are reaping the advantages of an explosive market and continuing their spree of success.

A palpable presence of some of the major players in the global solar street lighting market include SOKOYO Solar Group., Omega Solar., Solektra International, Bridgelux Inc., Urja Global Ltd., and Dragons Breath Solar. These players do not experience heavy infrastructural expenditure, which leaves a room for them to optimize the profit margins. The competition in the global solar street lighting market gets intensified with the entry of numerous small-scale players. However, a few strategic alliances adopted by globally reckoned players including joint ventures and incorporation of advanced technologies to their products, make the market’s competition to reach a cutthroat level.

Source: Globe News Wire - https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/05/22/1840785/0/en/Solar-Street-Lighting-Market-Rising-Global-Inclination-towards-Renewable-Energy-Sources-to-Foster-Growth-TMR.html

These Are The Smartest Cities In The World For 2019
21 May, 2019

Prepared by IESE Business School's Center for Globalization and Strategy, under the direction of professors Pascual Berrone and Joan Enric Ricart, the index looks at the level of development of 174 cities from 80 countries. The cities are analyzed across nine dimensions considered key to truly sustainable cities: human capital (developing, attracting and nurturing talent), social cohesion (consensus among the different social groups in a city), economy, environment, governance, urban planning, international outreach, technology, and mobility and transportation (ease of movement and access to public services).

Source: Forbes - https://www.forbes.com/sites/iese/2019/05/21/these-are-the-smartest-cities-in-the-world-for-2019/#4e7a3d761429

Business Not As Usual In Recycling
17 May, 2019

Paper or plastic? Neither. China doesn’t want our trash. It banned importing of “yang laji,” foreign trash, in January 2018. For years, China was an easy and willing recipient for things the West didn’t want. China’s ban should be applauded as a positive step toward environmental and public health. Processing “yang laji’ created additional pollution on top of what the country is already grappling with. But the ban left the western world, including Seattle, scrambling to find a reliable solution for its recyclables.

A major processor of exported recyclables for decades, China took in about half of the world’s waste paper and used plastic. As the world’s most populous country becomes more prosperous, it is generating enough of its own “laji,” or trash, to support a vibrant domestic recycling industry. China also posts stricter contamination standards for what it now accepts in recyclables—a standard too high for most countries to meet.

Source: Asian Weekly - https://nwasianweekly.com/2019/05/business-not-as-usual-in-recycling/

The Clean Hydrogen Future Has Already Begun
14 May, 2019

There is a growing international consensus that clean hydrogen will play a key role in the world’s transition to a sustainable energy future. It is crucial to help reduce carbon emissions from industry and heavy transport, and to provide long-term energy storage at scale.

Hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier that can be produced from a wide range of sources and used in many ways across the entire energy sector. It could become a game-changer in its low-carbon form, but its widespread adoption faces challenges.

The International Energy Agency is preparing a major new study to assess the state of play for hydrogen, its economics and potential. Due to be published in mid-June, the report will be a key contribution to Japan’s 2019 Presidency of the G20.

Source: World Economic Forum - https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/05/the-clean-hydrogen-future-has-already-begun/

London Tops Smart And Sustainable Ranking
09 May, 2019

London leads a ranking of smart and sustainable cities, earning top scores for its international outreach and human capital measures, and holds third position worldwide for its transport infrastructure.

The UK capital performed less well in other categories, though, in the IESE Business School’s Cities in Motion Index, which analysed 174 cities from 80 countries in a bid to identify the world’s smartest and most sustainable cities.

According to IESE’s findings, the UK, alongside the US and Germany, is one of the best-performing countries in number of cities taking top positions in the index. In all, eight UK cities – Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Nottingham – made the top 100.

Source: Smart Cities World - https://www.smartcitiesworld.net/smart-cities-news/smart-cities-news/london-tops-smart-and-sustainable-ranking-4160

Electric Cars: Current Trends Make For A Shocking Change
07 May, 2019

Electric cars are rapidly moving from the periphery of the automotive sector in the European Union to the mainstream. The sales figures alone across Europe do not necessarily justify such a bold claim, given that within the overall market, fully-electric vehicles (known as BEVs, or battery-electric vehicles) account for around 1.7 per cent of all passenger vehicles sold. But as the EU looks towards a carbon-neutral future based on green energy and zero emissions, BEVs are undoubtedly integral to the debate around Europe’s automotive future.

With various national incentive schemes promoting the acquisition of zero-emissions vehicles, consumers can make informed choices about the economic advantages of going all-electric. However, support from the EU, through an integrated policy framework across transport, the environment, infrastructure and regional policy, will be essential if electric vehicles are to continue their impressive growth in the market.

Source: Youris - http://www.youris.com/mobility/ecovehicles/electric-cars-current-trends-make-for-a-shocking-change.kl

European Investment Bank approves €4 billion in smart energy financing
15 Apr, 2019

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has green-lit €4 billion in financing for clean energy generation, green transport and clean water projects in 18 countries.

The funds will be channelled into green urban transport projects, which will target increasing the use of electric public transport such as buses, trams and rail-based transport in Marseille and Rotterdam, and will also extend credit to Danish projects focussing on energy efficiency.

Two new offshore wind farms off the coast of France at Saint Nazaire and Fecamp with a total capacity of 1GW will also receive funding, as well as energy efficiency and district heating improvements in Belarus.

Source: Smart Energy - https://www.smart-energy.com/renewable-energy/european-investment-bank-approves-e4-billion-smart-energy-financing/

9 of the 10 Worst Global Risks are Linked to Water
15 Apr, 2019

Every year, the World Economic Forum asks some 1,000 decision-makers from the public sector, business, academia and civil society across the globe to assess the risks facing the world over the decade to come. Since 2012, water crisis has consistently been ranked as one of the threats with the highest potential impact as well as likelihood.

This year “water crisis” is named as the risk with the fourth biggest impact. When asked how likely the risks are to occur, “water crisis” is placed as number nine. The top scores on both impact and likelihood are perceived to be: extreme weather events; failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation; and natural disasters.

Of the 1,000 most severe disasters that have occurred since 1990, water-related disasters accounted for 90 per cent. With extreme water and weather events increasing in both frequency and severity in the wake of climate change, floods and droughts are set to strike harder and more often in the years to come.

Annual flood losses in Europe are expected to increase fivefold to 2050 and up to 17-fold by 2080.

Source: IPS News - http://www.ipsnews.net/2019/03/9-10-worst-global-risks-linked-water/

(2019 – 2024) Smart Water Management Market Report, Trend, CAGR Status, Growth, Analysis and Forecast
13 Apr, 2019

Smart Water Management Market Insights 2019, Global and Chinese Scenario is a professional and in-depth study on the current state of the global Smart Water Management industry with a focus on the Chinese market. The report provides key statistics on the market status of the Smart Water Management manufacturers and is a valuable source of guidance and direction for companies and individuals interested in the industry. Overall, the report provides an in-depth insight of 2014-2024 global and Chinese Smart Water Management market covering all important parameters.

Source: The News Mates - http://thenewsmates.com/2019/04/13/70860/2019-2024-smart-water-management-market-report-trend-cagr-status-growth-analysis-and-forecast/

China Reiterates Total Ban and Tries To Define ‘Solid Waste’
12 Apr, 2019

Chinese officials doubled down on plans to ban virtually all recovered material imports by the end of the year, despite opposition from U.S. interests.

Even as the country issued recovered fibre import permits last week, Chinese environment ministry officials made clear the government’s plan to end almost all “solid waste” imports by the end of this year. The plan was first released last summer.

China’s policies – and similar actions by other Asian nations – have caused global shifts in the markets for many recovered materials. In the electronics recycling business, one major impact has been a drastic reduction in downstream options for e-plastics.

Source: E-Scrap News - https://resource-recycling.com/e-scrap/2019/04/12/china-reiterates-total-ban-and-tries-to-define-solid-waste/

Norway and Electric Vehicles – A Successful Combination
10 Apr, 2019

No other country in the world has more electric vehicles per capita than Norway. It has a simple explanation – political willingness and possibilities! Numerous benefits include less tax and user incentives, and abundant hydropower is important.

With many early adopters, Norway has been a frontrunner, and we see that politicians from many European countries look to Norway to learn and get inspiration for achieving similar results. We are happy to share our experiences and wish to be an attractive partner for the EU in this field.

In Norway we have seen a steady growth in the sale of electric cars. The first financial benefits were introduced already in the early 1990s with the removal of the vehicle purchase tax for all electric cars. In 1996, an additional exempt from annual motor vehicle tax was announced, and from 1997 drivers of electric vehicles did not have to pay on toll roads. Free municipal parking was introduced in 1999. We now see a tendency that electrical solutions also come in other heavier segments, which is very pleasing.

Source: Euractiv - https://www.euractiv.com/section/electric-cars/opinion/norway-and-electric-vehicles-a-successful-combination/

The 3 Steps to Thriving, Zero-Carbon Cities
09 Apr, 2019

Cities are currently both climate-culprit and climate-victim. They are already responsible for 70 percent of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and 65 percent of global energy demand; they could easily account for more than three-quarters of electricity use by 2030. Cities in emerging economies, where 95 percent of population growth to 2030 and beyond will occur, will account for the majority (70 percent) of global growth in energy use through 2030.

Investments in low-carbon city projects have significant benefits for urban and rural citizens alike. A research review found that the economic and social benefits of those investments, such a improvements in citizen health, jobs generated, poverty and inequality eliminated, were many times greater even than the $17 trillion value. As just one example, health benefits of improved heating and insulation can be more than 10 times the value of energy savings.

Source: Green Biz - https://www.greenbiz.com/article/3-steps-thriving-zero-carbon-cities

More Environmentally Friendly Transport: Riding the Hydrogen Wave
09 Apr, 2019

Globally more and more governments are recognising the impact of climate change and are implementing policies to address the issue. While this will play a crucial role in reducing overall carbon dioxide levels, it must be complemented by the development of attractive low carbon alternatives.

The transportation industry is already addressing this and is experiencing a silent adoption of hydrogen powered fuel cells, a technology where hydrogen is used as a fuel with only water and heat as its by-products – a viable option for combating carbon emissions.

For low carbon fuel such as hydrogen to work, improvements and changes to the UK’s infrastructure are necessary and this too is gaining momentum.

Source: Intelligent Transport - https://www.intelligenttransport.com/transport-articles/78130/environmentally-freindly-hydrogen/

Waste Management in The EU: Info Graphic With Facts And Figures
06 Apr, 2019

Although municipal waste only accounts for less than a tenth of the more than 2.5 billion tonnes of waste generated in the EU every year, it is very visible and complex in nature.

 During April's plenary session in Strasbourg, MEPs voted in favour of plans to update current waste management rules, including new targets for recycling, packaging and landfilling. The goal of these new rules is to promote the shift towards a more sustainable model known as the circular economy.

From 2005 to 2016 the average amount of municipal waste as measured per capita declined by 7% in the EU. However, trends can vary by country. For example, while municipal waste per capita increased in Denmark, Germany, Greece, Malta and the Czech Republic, it decreased in Bulgaria, Spain, Hungary, Romania and the Netherlands.

In absolute terms municipal waste per person was the highest in Denmark, Malta, Cyprus and Germany, while the lowest in Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Source: European Parliament - http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20180328STO00751/eu-waste-management-infographic-with-facts-and-figures

How Green Is China’s High-Speed Rail?
05 Apr, 2019

China’s economic planning department has recently approved a flurry of new rail projects at a scale that Green New Deal advocates in the United States would envy. A total of 800 billion yuan (US$120 billion) will be poured into rail construction in 2019 as part of a plan to stimulate the domestic economy.

These investments are the latest in a decade-long building spree that has rapidly outfitted China with the world’s most extensive high-speed rail network – larger than all others combined.

Trains are among the most energy-efficient modes of transport, so new lines could be a major asset to China’s decarbonisation. However, studies show that some of China’s high-speed lines have relatively large carbon footprints and are chronically underutilised.

Source: China Dialogue - https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/11174-How-green-is-China-s-high-speed-rail-

China Joins the World Green Building Council Community
04 Apr, 2019

China's Green Building Council officially has partnered with the World Green Building Council in a major boost to international efforts to curb the environmental impact of the building and construction sectors, the two organizations announced.

The partnership was hailed as "hugely significant" by the World GBC, given China's position as the largest building construction market in the world, responsible for the construction of up to 2 billion square meters of building space each year. The country is expected to account for nearly half of new global construction over the coming decade.

Source: Green Biz - https://www.greenbiz.com/article/china-joins-world-green-building-council-community

The Scramble to Put A Ceiling on Spiralling Building Emissions
04 Apr, 2019

Things are looking up in the magazine this month as we examine how companies are reducing CO2 emissions in the built environment. As Mark Hillsdon reports, buildings are one of the biggest contributors to climate change, accounting for 36% of energy use globally. And despite improvements in building technologies, energy use continues to grow, with sharply rising use of air conditioners, and an area of floor space the size of Paris constructed every week, according to the International Energy Agency.

The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, launched last year at the Global Climate Action Summit in California, is seeking to bend the curve on this trajectory by challenging companies, cities, states and regions to reach net zero operating emissions in their portfolios by 2030.

Source: Ethical Corporation - http://ethicalcorp.com/scramble-put-ceiling-spiralling-building-emissions

These Six Finnish Cities Are Building A Model for Sustainable Urban Development
04 Apr, 2019

The Jätkäsaari neighbourhood in Helsinki is seeing dramatic changes. It’s one of six cities in Finland that’s participating in the 6Aika programme – which means "6 cities" in Finnish. The six cities participating are Helsinki, Espo, Vantaa, Turku, Tampere and Oulu. It’s a sustainable urbanization strategy, supported by the European Cohesion Policy.

One of the pilot projects aims to overcome mobility difficulties. This will include services like the car-sharing service DriveNow. For 2 Euros, Customers can unlock a car, and then pay as a little as few cents a minute after. This pilot project is being tested in three cities. It is also used by tourists arriving from Tallinn to Helsinki to get from the airport to the city centre.

Source: Euro News - https://www.euronews.com/2019/04/04/finland-6-smart-cities-work-together

Building Sector Takes Concrete Steps to Address 'Hidden Emissions'
02 Apr, 2019

Over the last 20 years, the building sector has focused on tackling the 28% of global emissions created by the operational phase of a building, the greenhouse gases pumped out by offices and homes as they are cooled and heated.

Far less attention has been paid to embodied carbon, those emissions created during the building’s construction and which are effectively locked in as soon as materials like concrete and glass are created.

However, since the Paris Agreement injected an even greater urgency into efforts to fully decarbonise the global economy, policymakers and industry have recognised that the focus can no longer just be on the use phase. 

Source: Ethical Corporation - http://www.ethicalcorp.com/building-sector-takes-concrete-steps-address-hidden-emissions

Innovative Urban Financing Can Make Our Cities Stronger
01 Apr, 2019

Cities are the defining form of human organization in the 21st century. In 1980, just 1.7 billion people lived in cities. By 2050, the world’s urban population will swell to 6.4 billion. By the end of this century, 80-90% of humanity is expected to be city dwellers. The vast majority of tomorrow’s urban growth will occur in the medium-sized and large sprawling cities of Africa and Asia. And since many cities are urbanizing before they industrialize, the slum population is set to double in the next decade. While everyone agrees that cities are growing in size and scale, there’s a worrying silence about what they will look like, much less how they will be financed.

The future of urbanization hangs in the balance. If unplanned, tomorrow’s large and intermediate cities may be condemned to fragility – sprawling, polluting, congested and impoverished. If designed with the future in mind, tomorrow’s cities can be resilient – dense, green, human-centered and prosperous. The urban dilemma can be converted into an opportunity, but doing so will require a dramatic change of mindset. Decisions taken in the coming years by national and municipal public authorities, business leaders, and investors and civic entrepreneurs will have monumental implications for what happens next.

Source: European Sting - https://europeansting.com/2019/04/01/innovative-urban-financing-can-make-our-cities-stronger/

European Commission: Solar to Be ‘Central’ In Post-2020 Clean Energy Efforts
01 Apr, 2019

Legislative milestones of the past few years of Jean-Claude Juncker’s European Commission will help EU solar play a decisive role in the next decade, a top official has said weeks before the bloc holds fresh elections.

Paula Abreu Marques, who heads up the renewable policy unit at the Commission, spoke at the Large Scale Solar Europe summit last week to detail how solar will be supported long-term by laws adopted under Jean-Claude Juncker’s cabinet.

“After 2020, we believe the situation will move. Solar PV is expected to become a mainstream technology at the centre of our energy transition,” Abreu said. “The market will have to double compared to today to achieve 2030’s target, and double again in the years after to reach the 2050 goal.”

Source: pv-tech - https://www.pv-tech.org/news/european-commission-solar-to-be-central-in-post-2020-clean-energy-efforts

New European Emissions Limits for Cars Risk Triggering Influx Of ‘Fake Electric’ Vehicles, Green Group Warns. 
30 Mar, 2019

Car manufacturers could take advantage of new European emissions rules to push sales of “fake electric” vehicles, green transport campaigners have warned.

EU leaders agreed on a plan this week to cut CO2 pollution from new cars by over a third by 2030, including measures to incentivise the rollout of electric vehicles.

But green group Transport & Environment said companies could use high-polluting “plug-in hybrid” vehicles to supply half of all the low emission cars required to comply with stricter targets. While this would meet goals on paper, the group warned that if the industry takes this path of least resistance it would jeopardise the continent’s climate targets. 

Currently the plug-in hybrid market is dominated by large SUVs with small batteries that are rarely charged due to their limited range.

Source: Independent - https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/electric-vehicles-eu-emissions-co2-plug-in-hybrids-transport-environment-a8845516.html

Europe Free from Single Use Plastic In 2 Years
29 Mar, 2019

The ban on single use plastics takes us one step closer to a sustainable Europe, the Party of European Socialists said today.

We welcome today’s vote in the European Parliament, which saw MEPs overwhelmingly back a ban on throw-away plastics, such as straws, food containers and cotton bud sticks.

PES Common Candidate FransTimmermans, in his capacity as Vice-President of the European Commission, has led the EU’s efforts to move towards a circular economy and to reduce plastic pollution in our seas and oceans. He was instrumental in creating the EU Plastics Strategy, the first of its kind in Europe, to protect the environment from pollution whilst fostering growth and innovation, turning a challenge into a positive for our continent.

Source: Modern Diplomacy - https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/03/29/europe-free-from-single-use-plastic-in-2-years/

First Ever Cities Summit Calls for Integrated Approach to Urban Infrastructure
28 Mar, 2019

While Member States were adopting a resolution on sustainable infrastructure at the UN Environment Assembly, the Cities Summit reinforced the importance of local action and the need for an integrated approach to urban infrastructure. 

Already 60 per cent of waste and three quarters of resource use and greenhouse gas emissions come from cities, making them great places to tackle sustainable consumption and production. But preserving the well-being of an increasingly urban population, many of whom still lack access to affordable and adequate housing and basic services, is just as important as we seek to achieve the sustainable development goals.

Source: Modern Diplomacy - https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/03/28/first-ever-cities-summit-calls-for-integrated-approach-to-urban-infrastructure/

Electrification and Renewables Boom Across Europe Will Require Huge Grid Resilience
27 Mar, 2019

Grid companies will need to deliver around 90 GW of new transmission lines across Europe by 2040 to cope with a boom in renewables generation and a significant surge in the electrification of transport and heating.

And this huge grid upgrade will need to be complemented by a range of flexible power sources, including gas engines, storage, and demand flexibility. 

That’s the conclusion of new research published today that claims that renewables will provide over 60% of Europe’s total power supply by 2040, representing a 400 GW, €400bn investment opportunity into clean energy capacity.

And the study adds that by 2050, total European power demand could rise by as much as 85%, mainly due to the electrification of heating and transportation.

Source: Smart Energy - https://www.smart-energy.com/industry-sectors/business-finance-regulation/electrification-and-renewables-boom-across-europe-will-require-huge-grid-resilience/

European Parliament Approves Electricity Market Design Proposal
27 Mar, 2019

The European Parliament has adopted three new regulations and a new directive for a revised internal electricity market in the EU. The European Commission submitted the proposal in late 2016, as part of negotiations over the Clean Energy for All Package.

The legislative package included a range of directives and regulations that were designed to improve energy efficiency and increase the share of renewable energy in Europe, while establishing regulations to foster the adoption of distributed-generation assets. The European Parliament has passed proposals for the new Electricity Market Regulation and Electricity Market Directive, as well as proposals for the Regulations on Risk Preparedness and the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).

Substantial parts of the package have already passed the legislative stage. The Governance of the Energy Union Regulation, the revised Energy Efficiency Directive, the revised Renewable Energy Directive and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive went into force last year.

Source: PV Magazine - https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/03/27/european-parliament-green-lights-electricity-market-design-proposal/

A Closer Look at Environmental Impact Bonds
25 Mar, 2019

Across the nation, countless cities with antiquated sewer and storm-water systems are under orders from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce storm-water runoff to decrease the amount of pollution entering local waterways. When Washington, D.C., faced this problem, city officials decided to experiment with green infrastructure rather than investing in expensive new pumps and pipes. Since green infrastructure had never been implemented on such a large scale, however, the city faced a huge challenge when it came to financing the project.

For the city, the solution was to launch the country’s first Environmental Impact Bond, or EIB. Considered a “pay for success” strategy, an EIB allows cities to share both the risks and the rewards of solving problems through innovative strategies with investors. They make it possible for governments, investors and other participants to focus on overall outcomes rather than specific activities, and they are proving successful.

Source: Water Finance Management - https://waterfm.com/a-closer-look-at-environmental-impact-bonds/

European Union Supports Water Development Projects in Sudan
25 Mar, 2019

Access to safe drinking water is a fundamental right but remains a challenge in many parts of the world. Around 2.1 billion people across the globe lack access to drinking water and 340,000 children under five die annually from unsafe drinking water and diarrhea due to poor sanitation.

Sudan faces ecological hazards such as water scarcity and desertification. As global population increases and human development advances, the demand for water increases, but availability remains limited. Access to water is a burden in many parts of Sudan as too many women and children still have to walk kilometers in severe weather conditions to access drinking water sources.

On World Water Day, the High Representative of the European Union declared that "The universal access to water and sanitation is a longstanding core element of EU’s development cooperation. Over the last decade we have spent more than €2.5 billion on water and sanitation in 62 countries, mainly in the African, Caribbean, Pacific countries as well as in our neighborhood. In many of these countries, we implement projects thanks to the strong cooperation with our UN partners - UNICEF, UNESCO and UNECE - and international financing institutions such as the World Bank."

Source: Africa News - https://www.africanews.com/2019/03/25/european-union-supports-water-development-projects-in-sudan/

EU Funding: £649 Million For Clean Energy Infrastructure
21 Mar, 2019

The European Commission is releasing €750 million (£649 million) of funding for clean energy infrastructure projects, such as nine priority corridors for integrating renewable energy into multiple countries

Supporting the construction of necessary infrastructure, contributes to the Commission’s energy policy priorities of improving energy security, whilst giving consumers more choice, and spurring economic growth and jobs. These interconnections are also essential for renewable energy sources to thrive and make Europe world number one in renewable energy.

A fully interconnected European network is one of the key preconditions to deliver the ultimate goal of the Energy Union, i.e. to ensure secure, affordable and sustainable energy, which has been one of the top political priorities of the Juncker Commission throughout the mandate.

Source: Open Access Government - https://www.openaccessgovernment.org/clean-energy-infrastructure/61364/

Green Approach for Urban Water Management — Kim Jensen
21 Mar, 2019

Today, more than half the world’s population live in cities, and in Asia we are expecting unprecedented growth — by 2030, megacities of 10 million inhabitants or more will be located primarily in Asia.

While urbanisation is synonymous with economic growth, it can often do more harm than good if we do not have the proper infrastructure to sustain the rapid development.

As epicentres of human activities, cities see intense production and consumption, using huge quantities of our limited natural resources while contributing to climate change.

One of the most critical resources under increased stress in urban cities is water.

The issue is even more acute in Asia-Pacific, with the region being home to almost two-thirds of the world’s population but only having access to one-third of its usable water resources.

Source: Malay Mail - https://www.malaymail.com/news/what-you-think/2019/03/21/green-approach-for-urban-water-management-kim-jensen/1734916

Smart Cities Hold the Key to Sustainable Development
20 Mar, 2019

Asia and the Pacific’s phenomenal development has been a story of rapid urbanization. As centres of innovation, entrepreneurship and opportunity, cities have drawn talent from across our region and driven economic growth which has transformed our societies. In Southeast Asia alone, cities generate 65 percent of the region’s GDP. Yet the ongoing scale of urbanization is a considerable challenge, one which puts huge pressure on essential public services, housing availability and the environment. 

How we respond to this pressure, how we manage our urban centres and plan for their future expansion in Asia and the Pacific, is likely to decide whether recent development gains can be made sustainable.

Source: Modern Diplomacy - https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/03/20/smart-cities-hold-the-key-to-sustainable-development/

Tackling E-Waste Challenges in Latin America
17 Mar, 2019

He issue of e-waste continues to represent a threat to both the global environment and human health, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. E-waste is the quickest-growing waste stream in the world.

Currently, the world produces approximately 50 million tonnes of e-waste a year. This equals the total weight of all the commercial airliners ever made. This figure is predicted to rise to 120m tonnes by 2050.

From 17–22 March, political and technical representatives from 13 countries across Latin America and e-waste experts from around the world will meet in San Jose, Costa Rica, to discuss how to tackle the e-waste landscape in the region.

Source: Modern Diplomacy - https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/03/17/tackling-e-waste-challenges-in-latin-america/

2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects
16 Mar, 2019

Today, 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. Projections show that urbanization, the gradual shift in residence of the human population from rural to urban areas, combined with the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050, with close to 90% of this increase taking place in Asia and Africa, according to a new United Nations data set launched today.

The 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects produced by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) notes that future increases in the size of the world’s urban population are expected to be highly concentrated in just a few countries. Together, India, China and Nigeria will account for 35% of the projected growth of the world’s urban population between 2018 and 2050. By 2050, it is projected that India will have added 416 million urban dwellers, China 255 million and Nigeria 189 million.

Source: United Nations - https://www.un.org/development/desa/publications/2018-revision-of-world-urbanization-prospects.html

EU Defends Publishing Ship Emissions Data
06 Mar, 2019

The EU, under pressure from industry and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to harmonise its monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system with the IMO’s system, should still require ships registered outside the EU to report their data, the Commission said.

Publishing data on all ships will allow shipping customers to identify the most efficient ships, make fuel savings and thereby reduce CO2 emissions. The transparency of the EU system, unlike the IMO’s data collection system (DCS), will prevent dirty ships to pass them off as efficient. The Commission’s proposal also maintains other key elements of the EU’s MRV, such as reporting data showing ships’ air pollution in ports.

Source: Sea News - https://seanews.co.uk/environment/eu-defends-publishing-ship-emissions-data/

EU Group Invites Feedback on Sustainable Finance Definition
14 Feb, 2019

The Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG) set up by the European Commission has requested feedback on the development of an EU-wide classification system for environmentally sustainable economic activities.

A unified taxonomy would make it possible to determine which investments, such as loans, stocks and bonds are environmentally sustainable, making it easier for market participants to finance these activities and limiting the risk of green-washing.

The taxonomy will lay the foundation for all other measures on sustainable finance. It will help investors, including individuals, invest their money in line with their sustainability preferences and build momentum for climate-friendly investments.

Source: Climate-KIC - https://www.climate-kic.org/news/feedback-sustainable-finance-definition/

The Beacon of Sustainable Finance In Europe Must Not Lose Its Flame
14 Feb, 2019

A few short months later, the European Commission released its Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth and soon after released the three legislative proposals that have shaped the progression of work since then, covering the disclosure of sustainability risks, a pan-European taxonomy to classify environmentally friendly activities, and low-carbon benchmarks.

The year since has brought with it tangible progress: the European Parliament is currently discussing amendments to the taxonomy that could see the introduction of stronger human rights safeguards for environmentally-friendly activities, as ShareAction and others have called for, while the final stages of negotiations on the Disclosure Regulation could secure reporting on sustainability risks for mainstream products, not just those in the green niche.

Source: Euractiv - https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/opinion/the-beacon-of-sustainable-finance-in-europe-must-not-lose-its-flame/

The Energy Transition Can Only Be Successful If Everybody Is Involved
14 Feb, 2019

The energy transition means a fundamental transformation of our societies and affects everybody's day-to-day life. It is not only about climate change, greenhouse gas reduction and the use of new technologies. It represents an opportunity for structural change where citizens need to play a key role. The issue of citizen participation is central.

“The energy transition cannot be successful if all stakeholders are not on board - we have to take into account the needs of all actors involved” said the president of the TEN section, Pierre Jean Coulon. “The reason we have energy is to serve a final purpose, to simplify citizens' life, including families and businesses. Without energy, our basic needs are not met: there is no education, health system or transport.”

Source: Renewable Energy Magazine - https://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/panorama/the-energy-transition-can-only-be-successful-20190214

Gas as Clean Energy Source: EU’s 2050 Energy Goals and Aspirations
14 Feb, 2019

Natural gas is going to remain a key component of the European Union’s energy mix in the years to come despite a heavy push towards the renewables. Its role and tasks will, however, be changing and by 2050 gas will have become a “complement” to green energy such as solar and wind – Miguel Arias Canete, the EU’s Commissioner for climate action and energy. Gas is expected to play “an important role in the energy transition” and help the continent to meet its aspirational targets of reaching net-zero emissions by the mid-century.

Source: EU Bulletin - https://www.eubulletin.com/9576-gas-as-clean-energy-source-eus-2050-energy-goals-and-aspirations.html

PV Explosion Not Enough to Keep EU on Track for 2020 Renewables Ambition
14 Feb, 2019

Despite solar’s explosive growth; the bloc is unlikely to meet its 20% clean energy target. Transport in particular remains a drag, with slow adoption rates for alternative fuels. Wind power supplanted hydro as Europe’s largest renewable electricity source.

According to data released by the political bloc’s statistics authority Eurostat, renewables in 2017 accounted for 17.5% of the energy consumed. That marked a slight increase from 17% a year earlier.

According to Eurostat, the primary production volume of renewable energy among the EU’s 28 member states reached 226.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2017. That meant renewables grew 64% between 2007 and 2017, at an average rate of 5.1% per year.

Wood and solid biofuels supplied the largest proportion of renewable energy generation in the bloc, with 42%, followed by wind power (13.8%) and hydro (11.4%).

Source: PV Magazine - https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/02/14/pv-explosion-not-enough-to-keep-eu-on-track-for-2020-renewables-ambition/

Single-Use Plastics Need Comprehensive Federal Legislation
13 Feb, 2019

Plastic pollution appears to be arising ever more frequently in the news. Companies like Starbucks have announced voluntary steps to rid their stores of plastic straws. China is wielding its “National Sword” policy, which places restrictions on the amount and type of plastic waste it will accept from abroad, which has prompted cries for improvements to recycling technologies and infrastructure in the United States. A young entrepreneur designed a floating boom intended to rake up debris from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—a large accumulation of plastic debris and other waste floating in the Pacific Ocean—but it returned to port in pieces in early January, battered by unrelenting wind and waves, indicating the challenges of ocean cleanup.

Source: The Regulatory Review - https://www.theregreview.org/2019/02/13/stein-single-use-plastics-comprehensive-federal-legislation/

China Is Top Country for Global Green Building
13 Feb, 2019

Mainland China tops the list of countries and regions for LEED green building, with more than 68 million gross square meters, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The annual Top 10 list recognizes markets outside of the U.S. that are using LEED to create healthier spaces for people, as well as use less energy and water, reduce carbon emissions, and save money for families and businesses. The top countries and regions account for nearly 7,800 certified buildings and more than 210 million gross square meters of space.

“For the last 25 years, LEED has played a key role in sustainability efforts around the world”, said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC and Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), the global certifying body for LEED projects. “The Top 10 Countries and Regions represent a global community of dedicated USGBC member companies and green building professionals who are committed to improving our quality of life. A better future requires a universal living standard that leaves no one behind—and that future would simply not be possible without the extraordinary work is being done in these countries.”

Source: Facility Executive - https://facilityexecutive.com/2019/02/china-top-country-global-green-building/

More Action Needed to Tackle Mixtures of Chemicals in Europe's Waters
11 Feb, 2019

Europe-wide action to prevent and reduce some of the most hazardous chemicals from making their way into Europe’s many fresh water bodies has been successful over past decades, thanks in most part to EU rules, according to the EEA report 'Chemicals in European waters.' However, challenges remain in effectively dealing with mercury and brominated flame retardants, and with many harmful chemicals which have not been prioritised for monitoring under the EU Water Framework Directive.

Source: European Environment Agency - https://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/more-action-needed-to-tackle

Eye in The Sky: Using Satellites to Better Manage Natural Resources
10 Feb, 2019

According to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, there are currently 4,857 satellites orbiting the planet. Among them are two Sentinel-2 satellites, part of a space-borne mission provided by the Copernicus European Earth Observation programme. The two satellites visit the same spot on Earth every two to five days, depending on the location.

Their sensors acquire multispectral images with spatial resolution varying between 10, 20, or 60 metres, depending on the spectral band. The data produced by Sentinel satellites is freely available to the public and the volumes of data are staggering. Between Sentinel 1, 2 and 3, over 10 petabyte of new data are made available for download every year. With a single petabyte equalling 500 billion pages of standard typed text, this is Big Data worthy of its name.

Source – Modern Diplomacy - https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/02/10/eye-in-the-sky-using-satellites-to-better-manage-natural-resources/

To Develop a City for Transit, or Transit for a City?
09 Feb, 2019

Transit Oriented Development is a type of community development,  where there are vibrant, walk able and bike able mixed-use neighbourhoods; neighbourhoods that have a good mix of housing, office, retail shops and/or other amenities located within a kilometre of quality public transportation.

ToD is a sustainable practice. Research by Portland Metro has shown that the residents of neighbourhoods with good transit access and mixed-use development use their cars 29 percent less than in suburban neighbourhoods. This is primarily because ToD makes public transport accessible, inducing a reduction in traffic and congestion. 

This means lesser air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Neighbourhoods are safer because there are more people on the street and more “eyes on the street.”

Source: Citizen Matters - http://citizenmatters.in/transit-oriented-development-cities-metro-bus-public-transport-10109

Chinese Developers’ New Year’s Resolution – Diversify into Robotics, Green Cars and Beijing’s Other Pet Projects
09 Feb, 2019

It’s hard to be a rich Chinese property developer these days. Profits are still booming, for sure. And property development remains one of the most powerful engines of the economy. But when developers look ahead, they see diminishing profits – and diminishing favour. To stay at the top of the tycoon pile, they are quickly diversifying, embracing the government’s new pet industry – tech. Think robotics. Think green cars. Think artificial intelligence.

The embrace of hi tech by property developers comes amid President Xi Jinping’s push for the ambitious “Made in China 2025” plan that would transform the world’s second-largest economy into an innovation powerhouse.

Source: South China Morning Post - https://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/2185432/chinese-developers-new-years-resolution-diversify-robotics-green

Green Buildings Must Do More in Fixing Climate Emergency
07 Feb, 2019

After more than three decades of talk about the potential of building green, we’ve still failed to change the way we design and construct buildings so that the built environment stops being a dominant contributor to runaway climate change.

The Earth has already warmed about 1℃ since the 19th century and it’s on track to rise another degree. This second degree would push stable civilization to the very brink. In its recent report, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called for “urgent and unprecedented changes” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) so that we avoid reaching 2℃.

Source: Eco-Business - https://www.eco-business.com/opinion/green-buildings-must-do-more-in-fixing-climate-emergency/

The Sky’s the Limit as Architects Design UN17 Eco-Village in Copenhagen
07 Feb, 2019

UN17 Village will house 830 people, including around 175 children and 100 older residents. Five housing blocks will be built using recycled concrete, wood and glass. Some of the construction materials will be sourced from Lendager UP, the branch of Lendager that provides upcycled building materials, and the company will also use various subcontractors.

Construction is due to begin at the end of 2019, or early 2020, depending on the weather, and the work is scheduled to be completed in 2023.

It seems fitting that this innovative project is going ahead in Copenhagen. The Danish capital was the 2014 European Green Capital and aims to become carbon neutral by 2025.

Source: Modern Diplomacy - https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/02/07/the-skys-the-limit-as-architects-design-un17-eco-village-in-copenhagen/

Government to Introduce New Vehicle Taxes to Push People Towards Public Transport
07 Feb, 2019

The Department of Transport has published its Green Transport Strategy for 2018 – 2050, which lays out plans for new taxes, and changes to existing ones.

The strategy outlines the department’s plans for the road, rail and aviation sectors, with a focus on the country’s international commitments to reduce emissions.

In addition to a number of broader strategies – such as encouraging a push towards renewable energy vehicles – the document outlines some formal regulatory changes which are likely to have a direct impact on South African motorists.

Source: Business Tech - https://businesstech.co.za/news/motoring/297846/government-to-introduce-new-vehicle-taxes-to-push-people-towards-public-transport/

EU Launches Battery Research Drive
06 Feb, 2019

The European Commission has launched a new €1m platform aimed at driving forward research, innovation and knowledge transfer in battery technology across Europe.

Batteries Europe will be led by InnoEnergy, the innovation engine for sustainable energy across Europe, together with the European Energy Research Alliance and the European Association for Storage of Energy.

It brings together key European stakeholders in the batteries research and innovation community to support EU competitiveness along the entire battery value chain. 

The platform will develop and update research and innovation agendas and roadmaps aimed at spurring the development of battery projects at both pan-EU and national levels.

Source: RE News Biz - https://renews.biz/51360/eu-launches-battery-research-drive/

Building the Future: Four Innovation Trends That Are Shaping Green Construction
06 Feb, 2019

Europe's buildings are receiving an energy-efficiency makeover, and a host of innovative, green building technologies are the perfect tools for the job.  

Europe's homes, businesses and public buildings sap up about 40% of all energy in circulation, more power than in either the industrial (32%) or transport (28%) sectors. This translates into about 20 exajoules of energy per year - the rough equivalent of 3.5 billion barrels of oil - and means our buildings are responsible for about 36% of the continent's carbon emissions. 

As Europe pushes forward to shrink both its energy consumption and carbon footprint, revamping the region's buildings has been given top priority. Countless numbers of buildings are slated for renovation in the coming years, and millions more will be constructed or refurbished after tougher EU guidelines take effect in 2020.

Source: European Patent Office - https://www.epo.org/news-issues/technology/sustainable-technologies/green-construction.html

Learning Cities Award Winners
04 Feb, 2019

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) announced that the winners of the 2019 UNESCO Learning City Award are: Aswan (Egypt), Chengdu (China), Heraklion (Greece), Ibadan (Nigeria), Medellín (Colombia), Melitopol (Ukraine), Petaling Jaya (Malaysia), Santiago (Mexico), Seodaemun-gu (Republic of Korea), and Sønderborg (Denmark). According to the Learning City Award Jury, these cities have shown exemplary progress and commitment to promote education and lifelong learning at the local level.

Source: Modern Diplomacy - https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/02/04/learning-cities-award-winners/

National University of Singapore Welcomes Its First Net-Zero Building
31 Jan, 2019

The National University of Singapore has built its first net-zero building on campus, making it also the first of its kind in Singapore to be built from scratch. 

Launched at the new School of Design and Environment (SDE), SDE 4 is the latest addition to the three buildings that exist in the school, but the only one currently equipped with sustainable building designs such as solar roof installations, a hybrid cooling system as well as innovative approaches to optimise natural ventilation and lighting.

Being net-zero also means that the building produces more energy than it consumes, which it does with a “solar farm” on its roof, comprised of more than 1200 solar photovoltaic panels. The building draws energy from the university power grid on days when there is insufficient sunlight.

Source: Eco-Business - https://www.eco-business.com/news/national-university-of-singapore-welcomes-its-first-net-zero-building/

China Cuts Local Government Bond-Rate Guidance
30 Jan, 2019

As China’s government presses local authorities to accelerate infrastructure projects to bolster the economy, the Finance Ministry lowered its guidance on interest rates for local government bonds, reducing their borrowing costs. The Finance Ministry is requiring that government units issue bonds at a minimum spread of 25 to 40 basis points, or 0.25 to 0.40 %age points, above the five-day average yield of central government bonds of the same maturity, people close to the matter told Caixin.

Source: Caixin - https://www.caixinglobal.com/2019-01-30/china-cuts-local-government-bond-rate-guidance-101375892.html

Do We Really Need to Be Worried About China’s Rail Network?
30 Jan, 2019

Through the end of 2018, there were 131,000 kilometers (81,400 miles) of railroad in operation across China, of which more than 29,000 kilometers were high-speed rail (HSR) tracks — the most in the world. The mileage built in China in just over 10 years is more than twice what has been built in the rest of the world in half a century. But the “transport density” — the number of passengers moved per kilometer of railway per year — of the large-scale railway network is too low, indicating significant financial risk, said Professor Zhao Jianfrom Beijing Jiaotong University.

Source: Caixin - https://www.caixinglobal.com/2019-01-30/do-we-really-need-to-be-worried-about-chinas-rail-network-101376376.html

Electronic Devices Outnumber Humans and Trigger A Surge in E-Waste
29 Jan, 2019

The widespread innovations in modern digital technology have a devastating downside to it: the accumulation of over 50 million tonnes of electronics waste (e-waste) globally every year.

And that’s greater in weight than all of the world’s commercial airliners ever made, or enough Eiffel Towers to fill the borough of Manhattan in New York City, warns a new report released at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, January 24.

Currently only 20 per cent of e-waste—including desktop computers, cell phones, laptops, television sets, printers and a wide variety of household electrical appliances—is formally recycled.

If nothing changes, the United Nations University (UNU), one of the authors of the report, predicts e-waste could nearly triple to nearly 120 million tonnes by 2050.

Source: Eco-Business - https://www.eco-business.com/news/electronic-devices-outnumber-humans-and-trigger-a-surge-in-e-waste/

First EU Standard Regional Landfill to Be Constructed in Georgia
29 Jan, 2019

A new regional landfill will be constructed within the next 15 months in the vicinity of Kutaisi, On of Georgia's main cities, in full compliance with the European standards. The project aims to reduce the negative effects of waste pollution and develop the waste management field in Georgia.

The agreement for launching the given initiative was signed by the Solid Waste Management Company of Georgia Ltd (SWMCG), supervised by the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia (MRDI) and French-Slovenian consortium Sade-Riko, on January 24.

The construction process will commence in March and after completion will serve approximately 700,000 residents of the regions of Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Lower Svaneti.  

Source: Georgia Today - http://georgiatoday.ge/news/14269/First-EU-Standard-Regional-Landfill-to-Be-Constructed-in-Georgia

China's 2018 Renewable Power Capacity Up 12 Percent on Year
28 Jan, 2019

China’s renewable power capacity rose 12 percent in 2018 compared to a year earlier, official data showed on Monday, with the country still rolling out new projects despite transmission capacity concerns and a growing subsidy payment backlog.

China has been aggressively promoting renewable power as part of an “energy revolution” aimed at easing its dependence on coal, a major source of pollution and climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions. 

Total capacity - including hydro and biomass as well as solar and wind - rose to 728 GW by end-2018, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said during an official briefing.

Source: Reuters - https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-renewables/chinas-2018-renewable-power-capacity-up-12-percent-on-year-idUSKCN1PM0HM

Xi Jinping Visits Xiongan New Area in Show of Impatience at Lack of Progress on ‘Future City’ Plan
28 Jan, 2019

Beijing has renewed its push to achieve President Xi Jinping’s ambitious plan to create a new metropolis in an industrial and environmental backwater after a two-year lull filled with uncertainty and criticism. Pundits said the combination of the document and the visit sent a strong signal that despite widespread doubts about the soundness of the mega project and lack of progress on it, Xi had no intention of reconsidering his plan or further delaying its development.

Source: Source: South China Morning Post - https://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/2183804/xi-jinping-visits-xiongan-new-area-show-impatience-lack-progress-future 

Palm Oil and Soy Oil for Bio-fuels Linked to High Rates of Deforestation
24 Jan, 2019

A significant share of palm oil and soybean expansion happens on rainforests, forests, peatland and savannahs (land with high carbon stocks), according to a new study reviewing the latest scientific evidence on deforestation. Based on the most recent available satellite assessments, the report estimates that 31% of palm oil expansion globally takes place on forests (1), while 23% of the expanded production occurred on peatland (some of which overlaps with forest conversion). The study also estimates that at least 7% of global soybean expansion caused direct deforestation in the period 2012 to 2015.

Source: European Interest - https://www.europeaninterest.eu/article/palm-oil-soy-oil-biofuels-linked-high-rates-deforestation-study/

European Union: Financing A More Sustainable Future
23 Jan, 2019

Sustainable finance is the provision of finance to investments taking into account environmental, social and governance considerations. The recent growth in sustainable finance is seen by many experts as a response by governments seeking to comply with and reach the targets set by the Paris Agreement (a legally binding, global agreement on climate change as agreed in Paris on 12 December 2015). Some other reasons attributed to the growth in sustainable finance (from both an Irish and EU perspective) include:

  • EU targets: the EU target of reducing EU-wide CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030.
  • Potential investments in the EU: according to the EU High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, it is estimated that €11.2 trillion of investments in EU climate control measures will be required between 2021 and 2030 in order to meet the above EU target.

Source: Mondaq - http://www.mondaq.com/ireland/x/773936/Financial+Services/Financing+a+More+Sustainable+Future

EU Clean Energy Transition Receives an €800 Million Boost
23 Jan, 2019

The European Commission has announced €800 million will be allocated to support energy infrastructure projects under the program for trans-European infrastructure development, and that EU member states have approved the funding package.

The money, the commission said, will be provided by the Connecting Europe Facility, an EU fund for pan-European infrastructure investment in transport, energy and digital projects.

The commission added, €504 million will be devoted to electricity infrastructure and smart grid projects, with another €286 million for gas and the remaining €9.3 million supporting studies on the development of a CO² transport infrastructure. The commission specified the funds will finance projects that were selected through a call for proposals that ran from June to October.

The €504 million for the power sector will support two energy infrastructure projects key to the EU Clean Energy Package, and its central idea of creating a European integrated energy market: the interconnection of the Baltic States to Europe and of Poland to Germany, Slovakia and Czechia.

Source: PV Magazine - https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/01/23/eu-clean-energy-transition-receives-an-e800-million-boost/

Inside China's Leading 'Sponge City': Wuhan's War with Water
23 Jan, 2019

Wuhan was once known as “the city of a hundred lakes”. It had 127 lakes in its central area alone in the 1980s, but decades of rapid urbanisation mean only around 30 survive. 

Located at the merging of the Yangtze and Han rivers, this low-lying city, the capital of Hubei province, has always been prone to floods, especially in the summer monsoon months. The street names are often the only reminder of the lakes and pools that been filled in and built over, but in 2016, after a week of torrential downpours, they filled with water again.

Source: The Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/jan/23/inside-chinas-leading-sponge-city-wuhans-war-with-water

Energy Union: EU Invests A Further €800 Million In Priority Energy Infrastructure
23 Jan, 2019

Today EU Member States voted on a Commission proposal to invest almost €800 million in key European energy infrastructure projects with major cross-border benefits. The EU funding comes from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the European support programme for trans-European infrastructure.

Priority is given to projects that increase competitiveness, enhance the EU's security of energy supply through the promotion of safe, secure and efficient network operation, and contribute to sustainable development and environmental protection. Creating a connected, modern energy grid represents a crucial element of the Energy Union, one of the political priorities of the Juncker Commission.

Source: European Commission - http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-561_en.htm

Solid Waste Management Market to Generate Revenues of $340 Million by 2024
21 Jan, 2019

Solid waste management industry, over the last few years, has been witnessing a tremendous growth in terms of remuneration, owing to the fact that the developed and developing nations across the globe are increasingly framing stringent regulatory norms and guidelines to tackle the burgeoning environmental challenges pertaining to solid waste. Furthermore, various regulators and government agencies have been making concerted efforts to assist the leading and upcoming solid waste management market players, to ensure appropriate collection, segregation, transportation, storage, disposal, and recycling of rapidly increasing waste volumes across the world.

Source: Market Watch - https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/solid-waste-management-market-to-generate-revenues-of-340-million-by-2024-2019-01-21

Seven Ways the Ocean Cargo Industry Is Pursuing Green Shipping
18 Jan, 2019

Air pollution from cars and factories has been regulated in much of the world since the 1970s. When it comes to the smoke-belching ships that carry global trade, the rules have been a lot looser.

Big changes start next January, though, when long-debated standards from the International Maritime Organization mandate steep cuts of sulphur emissions associated with respiratory disease and acid rain. Much tougher rules are supposed to take effect in 2050, when the IMO will require ships also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least half.

By itself, next year’s cap could prevent 150,000 premature deaths and millions of childhood asthma cases each year, according to research published in the journal Nature. It will also cost tens of billions of dollars for an industry that has dragged its feet on the environment.

Source: Transport Topics - https://www.ttnews.com/articles/seven-ways-ocean-cargo-industry-pursuing-green-shipping

MEPs Back Plans to Promote Water Reuse for Agricultural Irrigation
16 Jan, 2019

The legislation defines minimum quality standards for reclaimed water to be used for agricultural irrigation. It also sets out obligations for production, distribution and storage operators, as well as risk management measures.

Reclaimed water (i.e. urban wastewater that has undergone treatment in a reclamation facility) will be used to irrigate food crops, processed food crops and non-food crops. The Commission will have to assess whether reclaimed water can be used in other ways.

MEPs say that in the meantime, member states may allow reclaimed water to be used in other ways, such as industrial water reuse and for amenity-related and environmental purposes, provided that human health, animals and the environment are thoroughly protected.

Source: EU Reporter - https://www.eureporter.co/environment/2019/01/25/meps-back-plans-to-promote-water-reuse-for-agriculturalirrigation/

Future Proofing the Smart City
14 Jan, 2019

As urban areas expand, the old central business district model becomes less, well, central. Many global cities are designing additional districts outside the city center as a means to attract emerging business and new residents. Madrid, for instance, hopes to entice companies leaving post-Brexit London to relocate to its Madrid New North project. Singapore, meanwhile, is planning a second central business district called the Jurong Lake District. An 890-acre mixed-use development located near the country’s newly consolidated container port operations, it is primed to capitalize on a future Kuala Lumpur–Singapore high-speed rail system. 

Source: Architect Magazine - https://www.architectmagazine.com/design/future-proofing-the-smart-city_o

EU Renewables on the Up, But 2020 Target Looms Large
12 Jan, 2019

Renewable energy use in Europe is still increasing, although a slowdown in overall development has continued. According to new data, the EU got 17.5% of its energy from renewable sources in 2017, marking a slight increase compared to 2016.

The European Union has a binding target of 20% renewable energy use by 2020 and the most recent statistics from Eurostat now show that as of 2017 the bloc had reached 17.5%.

Renewable energy made up 16.7% of final energy consumption in 2015, and 16.1% in 2014.

This week’s announcement means that little has changed since the statistics were last updated in 2018, when the EU announced that its member states are on course to hit the 2020 target.

In January 2018, the European Commission revealed that 11 of the 28 EU members have already hit their individual benchmarks for 2020 ahead of schedule. That number has not increased in the last 12 months.

Source: Euractiv - https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/eu-renewables-on-the-up-but-2020-target-looms-large/

Beijing's Sub-Center Aims for Green Transport
04 Jan, 2019

Beijing's subsidiary administrative center will strive to build a green transport system, according to a detailed plan released Friday.

Beijing Municipal Commission of Planning and Natural Resources and the district government of Tongzhou on Friday disclosed the Regulatory Planning of Beijing Sub-center for 2016 to 2035, as approved by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council on Thursday.

Sitting in Tongzhou District in the east of the capital, the sub-center aims to accommodate 1.3 million permanent residents by 2035.

The sub-center plans to build an environmental-friendly transport network, giving priorities to pedestrians, cyclists and commuters using public transport.

It is estimated that more than 80 percent of residents living in the sub-center will opt for green transport by 2035, including walking, bicycles and electric vehicles.

Source: Xinhua - http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-01/04/c_137719688.htm

The Toxic Business of ‘Recycling’ China’s Car Batteries Leads to Illegal Dumping, Pollution and Poisoned Water
20 Dec, 2018

Authorities in eastern China are turning to the courts to raise the millions of Yuan needed to rehabilitate water and land polluted by dumping from an illegal lead-acid battery recycling plant.

State-run Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday that the city of Huaian in Jiangsu province would use “public interest litigation” to pay to remove the acid and heavy metals found to around the plant and a nearby river.

Source: South China Morning Post - https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2173457/toxic-business-recycling-chinas-electric-car-batteries

Bond Issuance Boost in The Pipeline
19 Dec, 2018

Local governments are expected to accelerate bond issuance next year, to raise more funds for infrastructure construction projects and stabilize economic growth, according to analysts.

The country's top legislators will deliberate a proposal for assigning part of the 2019 bond issuance quota to local governments, during a seven-day meeting starting from Dec 23, 2018, according to a statement on the National People's Congress website.

That means local governments could issue new bonds starting from January, much earlier than May as usual, to accelerate fundraising and support government-led infrastructure construction.

Source: China Daily

7 Million People in China Left Cities to Move to Rural Areas and Take Up Farming Last Year, and It Reveals a Growing Trend
17 Dec, 2018

A rising number of educated urbanites in China are choosing to wave goodbye to city life and head back to the land.

Last year the Ministry of Agriculture announced that seven million people had returned to the countryside from cities.

The modernization of farming in China is on the government's agenda. In March, President Xi Jinping said more effort should be made to encourage talented university graduates and overseas returnees to move to rural areas to revitalize them and boost innovation.

Source: Business Insider - https://www.businessinsider.com/chinas-phds-and-mbas-are-giving-up-city-life-for-farming-2018-12/?IR=T

GPS Bike-Share Program in China Credited with Reducing Gridlock and Smog
12 Dec, 2018

The smog hangs thick over Beijing. It's a brownish haze with a vaguely smoky smell, shrouding lanes of traffic and pedestrians wearing face masks.

The main culprits are nearby steel factories and coal-burning heating plants. But the city's five million cars add much to the toxic mix, creating air that's frequently rated "hazardous" by the World Air Quality Index Project. 

Since the beginning of last year, Chinese cities have been awash with 23 million GPS-equipped bicycles, part of a bike share program that has been credited with changing traffic patterns across the country and reviving a mode of transportation that was fading fast.

Source: CBC - https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/china-gps-bike-share-carbon-emissions-1.4941137 

Shenzhen's Silent Revolution: World's First Fully Electric Bus Fleet Quietens Chinese Megacity
12 Dec, 2018

China’s drive to reduce the choking smog that envelops many of its major cities has propelled a huge investment in electric transport. Although it remains expensive for cities to introduce electric buses – one bus costs around 1.8 million Yuan (£208,000) – Shenzhen was able to go all-electric thanks to generous subsidies from both central and local government.

To keep Shenzhen’s electric vehicle fleet running, the city has built around 40,000 charging piles. Shenzhen Bus Company has 180 depots with their own charging facilities installed.

Source: The Guardian

How South-South and Triangular Cooperation Can Promote Green Growth And Sustainable Cities
10 Dec, 2018

As part of the Global South-South Development Expo 2018, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) convened a thematic solution forum on sustainable urban-industrial development along the Belt and Road.

The forum, building on the outcomes of UNIDO’s flagship BRIDGE for Cities event, focused on how green growth and sustainable cities can be promoted through South-South and Triangular cooperation. It was attended by a high-level audience consisting of representatives from Member States, UN agencies, development finance institutions and the private sector, as well as from civil society and academia.

Source: Modern Diplomacy

EU Official: Innovation Plan Open to China
04 Dec, 2018

The European Commission this year unveiled its framework for research and innovation spending, envisioning spending 100 billion euros from 2021 to 2027 with greater emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation. 

The investment plan is open to the world and especially to China, as it is in line with China's next five-year plan, according to EU official.

Source: CGTN - https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d3d514f35417a4d31457a6333566d54/share_p.html

The Cost of Cooling Our Cities
03 Dec, 2018

As the world gathers for COP 24, the U.N. climate summit, it must contemplate the fact that as development and urbanization increase, the heat island effect will worsen. This is a phenomenon where the density of buildings, industrial activity, roads and traffic in a city trap heat and raise temperatures above those of the surrounding areas. This heating up will, naturally, require even more cooling units. The International Energy Agency recently predicted that the stock of air-conditioning units would triple by 2050, growing from 1.6 billion to 5.6 billion by 2050. This would require as much electrical capacity to power as the United States, the European Union and Japan currently use, combined.

Source: The Washington Post

Turkey Sets Sights on Better Planned, Forward-Looking and Sustainable Cities
21 Nov, 2018

Turkey takes a step forward today to make its cities more sustainable, inclusive and well-planned, with a focus on adopting integrated and long-term approaches to city planning and development.

High level officials from the World Bank, the European Union, the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization and Iller Bank with local representatives from metropolitan municipalities convened at the launch event of the Sustainable Cities Program in Turkey.

Source: Modern Diplomacy - https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2018/11/21/turkey-sets-sights-on-better-planned-forward-looking-and-sustainable-cities/

Cities of The Future: The Ultimate Design Challenge
21 Nov, 2018

With two-thirds of people expected to live in cities by 2050 and with urban areas accounting for 70 per cent of the emissions that are propelling the planet into a climate unknown, the challenge is both clear and urgent: cities must be reimagined.

In a report this year, the International Resource Panel said cities must be low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially just. The expert group, which was set up by UN Environment, said urban demand for resources could rise by 125 per cent by 2050 with at least 200 new cities expected to be built in Asia over the next 30 years.

Source: UN Environment - https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/cities-future-ultimate-design-challenge

China’s Soil Pollution Law Triggers New Compliances for Businesses 
19 Nov, 2018

China has escalated its fight against pollution, recently passing its first law addressing soil pollution prevention and control.

The Law on the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution was passed on August 31, 2018 by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s highest legislative body. Adopted after its third reading, the law takes effect on January 1, 2019.

The new soil pollution law fills a legal void, creating a comprehensive liability system for preventing and cleaning up soil pollution.

Source: ChinaBriefing - http://www.china-briefing.com/news/china-soil-pollution-law-environmental-compliance-businesses/

There’s Money in Trash, and Chinese Companies Are Cashing-in
12 Sep, 2018

The government said in July that households across the nation will, for the first time, have to pay for garbage disposal by 2020 and, separately, that limits on landfills will be tightened. Other recent initiatives include raising recycling quotas in 46 major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai. Revised laws and follow-up implementation mean that the solid-waste market is only going to expand. The greatest potential is in sectors like garbage incineration and hazardous waste disposal, along with garbage classification and the expansion of household waste management from urban to rural areas.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-29/trash-or-treasure-china-s-waste-firms-rally-on-new-policies 

Sponge City Project in China Turns Trash Into Cash
25 Jul, 2018

A huge amount of ceramic waste in east China's Jiangxi Province has been transformed into a huge pile of cash as part of the ongoing sponge city project.

A sponge city is one in which urban precipitation is absorbed into the groundwater rather than running off into watercourses. The idea is to make better use of rainwater and prevent flooding. These sponge cities typically feature roof gardens, large numbers of trees, vast areas of lawns and permeable pavement.

Source: https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/sponge-city-project-in-china-turns-trash-into-cash 

China Solid Waste Imports Plummet 56% in H1
01 Jun, 2018

China's imports of solid waste fell 56.3 percent in the first half of 2018, the result of tough new restrictions and a crackdown on smuggling. Total waste and scrap imports reached 9.98 million tonnes over the six month period. The government has sought to relinquish its role as the world's biggest recipient of waste as it bids to curb pollution and move up the global supply chain, and banned imports of 24 types of foreign waste, including plastics, at the beginning of this year, and it has also imposed tough quality restrictions on other recyclable materials, including scrap metal.

Read more at: http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201807140020.html

China Needs Nearly $150 Billion To Treat Severe River Pollution: Official
16 May, 2018

China will need more than 1 trillion yuan ($148 billion) to build a massive network of waste water pipelines to reduce heavy pollution in urban rivers, an environment ministry official said on Thursday.

Under a national water pollution action plan published in 2015, China’s cities are under pressure to cut what authorities call “black and stinky water” to less than 10 percent of rivers in urban areas by 2020.

Read here to get more information:


China to Eliminate Solid Waste Imports by 2020
06 May, 2018

An announcement from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China asserts the country’s determination to eliminate imports of solid waste by the end of 2020. However, it is not yet clear whether this is a new policy or a reaffirmation of a strategy from last year. Some institutions predicts further changes to Chinese standards and laws in order to affect its recycled raw material needs as the country, not self-sufficient in recycled raw materials, will need to import them for their manufacturing needs.

Source: https://recyclinginternational.com/business/china-to-eliminate-solid-waste-imports-by-2020/

New Energy Market Reports Show Surge in Wind Energy
04 May, 2018

The European Commission’s latest reports on gas and electricity markets, which cover the last quarter of 2017, have just been published, containing a wide range of data about supply and usage of electricity and gas in the EU.

The electricity market report confirms that over the last few years electricity consumption in the EU has clearly been decoupled from economic growth. The EU’s GDP increased by almost 12% between 2010 and the end of 2017; over the same period, electricity consumption decreased by 4%. Moreover, in December 2017 more energy from wind was generated in the EU than ever before: 41 TWh (terawatt hours), equivalent to 16% of the EU’s electricity mix.

source: https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/new-energy-market-reports-show-surge-wind-energy-2018-mar-26_en

China Has Highest Number of Smart City Pilot Projects: Report
03 May, 2018

China has about 500 smart city pilot projects, the highest in the world, according to a leading auditing and consulting firm.Over 1,000 smart city pilot projects are ready for or are under construction worldwide and China is home to about 500 of them, covering big and small cities, according to a report by Deloitte.

However, Chinese cities should improve their strategy, design, operations and maintenance in developing smart urban areas, along with technology and infrastructure, to ensure residents needs can be met efficiently and in a timely manner, Xinhua quoted the report as saying.                         

Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/china-has-highest-number-of-smart-city-pilot-projects-report/articleshow/62998738.cms

China Reshapes Ministries to Better Protect Environment
27 Apr, 2018

Two new cabinet level ministries will be tasked with managing natural resources and fighting pollution. The cabinet level reorganisation is also seen as a step forward for the much-discussed concept of “ecological civilisation”. In 2012, at the 18th Party Congress, the need to build an ecological civilisation was elevated to an unprecedented level, highlighting the importance of environmental affairs to the Chinese leadership.

In 2015, a master plan for the reform of institutions and systems to realise ecological civilisation was promulgated. The plan listed a set of principles and objectives, and announced that by 2020, China should “complete institutional set-up in line with ecological civilisation.”

“Establishing the new ministries is one of the most concrete steps along the way of implementing the master plan,” Peng Yingdeng, former director of Beijing’s Atmospheric Environment Research Institute, told chinadialogue. “It lays the foundation for the creation of key pieces of policies, such as payment schemes for ecological services,” he added.

The set-up of the two new ministries embody those concepts. A core duty of the MNR is to serve as the ultimate “owner” of most of the country’s natural resources. To do that it will conduct census and surveys to ascertain the status and distribution of forests, wetlands and agricultural fields and assign proper values to those resources.

Source: https://www.chinadialogue.org.cn/article/show/single/en/10502-China-reshapes-ministries-to-better-protect-environment

Water in the City
25 Apr, 2018

With population growth, urbanisation and economic development, the demand for freshwater in urban areas are increasing throughout Europe. At the same time, climate change and pollution are also affecting the availability of water for city residents. How can Europe's cities continue providing clean freshwater to their residents? There are three answers giving by European cities, one is paying for the water we use , the second is re-using rain and greywater, and the third is reducing the loss.

Achieving a more sustainable use of urban public water supplies requires not only the implementation of measures such as those outlined above, but also raising public awareness on water conservation issues.Various means are available to inform domestic, business and tourist water consumers, including websites, school education programmes, local authority leaflets and mass media. The eco-labelling of appliances and eco-certification of hotels, for example, can also play an important role in raising awareness by helping consumers make informed choices about water efficiency and conservation.

Source: https://www.eea.europa.eu/articles/water-in-the-city

Climate Change: Investing in Low-Carbon Solutions and Adaptation
23 Apr, 2018

The European Union has put in place ambitious long-term goals on climate change mitigation, namely to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95 % below 1990 levels by 2050. These goals are to be implemented in steps. Our recent report shows that in 2013 the EU reduced its domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 19 % compared to 1990 levels. The target of a 20 % reduction by 2020 is clearly within reach.

In October, the European Council endorsed EU climate and energy objectives for 2030. These include two binding targets for the EU: by 2030 greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced domestically by at least 40 % compared to 1990 levels, and the share of renewable energy consumed will be at least 27 %. The European Council also set an indicative target of improving energy efficiency by at least 27 % in 2030 compared to projections of ‘business as usual’ energy consumption. In addition, the climate and energy framework listed energy security, internal energy markets, and key infrastructure projects as areas for further action.

Achieving a 40 % emissions reduction by 2030 — and 80-95% reduction by 2050 in particular — will partly depend on the EU’s ability to channel sufficient amounts of public and private funds towards sustainable and innovative technology. Carbon prices and regulations are instrumental in steering investments towards climate-friendly innovations, in particular in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency.In some cases, funding decisions might also entail divesting from some sectors. Europe and the world cannot continue subsidising sustainable solutions while also providing subsidies to unsustainable ones such as fossil fuels. Structural changes to key systems, such as energy and transport, require long-term investments in our infrastructures.


Europe’s Environment: The Power of Data and Knowledge
17 Apr, 2018

Europe collects increasingly more data, enhancing our understanding of the environment. Earth observation data obtained through the European Union’s Copernicus programme presents new challenges and opportunities to improve our environmental knowledge. Combining up-to-date Copernicus data with our existing knowledge base, the European Environment Agency (EEA) aims to empower policy makers and citizens across Europe in taking measures to address local, national and global challenges.

The potential of what we can collectively achieve with these data is immense. By combining an increasing number of data sets, we are able to understand better what is happening where, why it is happening, and who will be affected by it and how. Imagine monitoring changes in water quantity in areas across Europe as detailed as 10 by 10 meters, or how the crop production will be affected in the short run and when factoring in the long-term impacts of climate change. Our Air Quality Index with up-to-the-minute data could be developed further to include accurate air quality projections with shifts in wind or other weather patterns factored in.

Source: https://www.eea.europa.eu/articles/europes-environment-the-power-of-data

How Is China’s Overseas Energy Investment Impacting the Global South?
16 Apr, 2018

China has emerged as a major player in overseas development in recent years with mixed results for the environment and climate change.

It's provided huge sums of financing through the South-South Climate Cooperation Fund, a pledge of 20 billion yuan (US$3.1 billion) dedicated to helping developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate impacts through low-carbon projects and training.

The country is focusing its development ambitions through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – President Xi’s dream to build an interconnected infrastructure network for trade across Asia, Europe and Latin America. But there are concerns over the environmental footprint of BRI, which includes the financing of coal projects in less developed countries. 

Source: https://www.chinadialogue.org.cn/article/show/single/en/10406-Video-How-is-China-s-overseas-energy-investment-impacting-the-Global-South-

Foreign Investors are Getting Easier Access to China’s Booming Green Bond Market
13 Apr, 2018

China is now looking beyond its domestic market to continue the expansion of green bonds. It’s doing this because the country will need an estimated 3-4 trillion yuan in green investments annually in the coming years – meanwhile, international investors have shown a keen interest in green assets: 38% of European investment officers polled in June 2017 said they were in the market for green bonds, 50% said they were interested in renewables.

 More access may sound like a good thing, but foreign investors still don’t understand enough about the Chinese green bond market when it comes to different bond categories, proceeds regulations, pre-issue verification and audits. They also don’t know how to find information in these areas.

 The good news is that the Green Finance Committee of China is working with the European Investment Bank to harmonise green bond standards between Europe and China. This will give investors the chance to apply their existing knowledge to a foreign market. The first step was completed in November, providing a framework for compatibility between the standards, and allowing investors to make a direct comparison.

Source: https://www.chinadialogue.org.cn/article/show/single/en/10387-International-investors-eye-China-s-green-bonds

Can Expressways Get People Cycling Again?
12 Apr, 2018

China’s first elevated bike lane and the world’s longest at 7.6-kilometres is the Yunding road bicycle expressway in the south-eastern province of Fujian, which is now a little over a year old.

 What’s special about Xiamen’s expressway is that it is fully elevated, segregated from other traffic, and off-limits to pedestrians, electric bikes and three-wheelers. This makes it the first piece of infrastructure in China aimed solely at cyclists.

 The expressway uses space below the elevated roads of Xiamen’s Bus Rapid Transport. It sits five metres above ground and has two lanes, each 2.5 metres wide. It connects numerous residential areas, important public buildings, parks and schools.

As Chinese cities embark on more bicycle expressways, it’s hoped that schemes in the US and Europe can help inform best practice. Expressways are normal in many bike-friendly cities and countries: London has Cycle Superhighways, Holland its F25 High-Speed Cycle Route, Germany the RS1 bicycle highway, and in Bogota, Colombia, there is the Juan Amarillo Greenway.

 What’s clear is that the most important feature of a bicycle expressway is exclusive road rights – a physical separation from other forms of transport to avoid interference and ensure safe travel at speed.

Source: https://www.chinadialogue.org.cn/article/show/single/en/10401-Can-expressways-get-people-cycling-again-

Carbon Markets Must Balance Stability and Adaptability
10 Apr, 2018

The launch of China’s national emissions trading system (ETS) last December marked a major milestone in global efforts to deliver on the Paris Agreement. The addition of China’s ETS means that over seven gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent – roughly 15% of global emissions – are now covered by carbon markets.

China has the world’s biggest power sector and is developing globally significant industries so implementing a successful ETS is a daunting endeavour. However, our latest report by International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) on worldwide emissions trading highlights some lessons of older schemes from which China’s ETS architects can learn.

Perhaps the most important conclusion from more than a decade of global ETS experience is that emission trajectories are hard to predict, and circumstances can change in unexpected ways.

This means that carbon markets must strike a balance between stability and adaptability to changing circumstances. This is why the recently concluded reforms in some of the longest-running systems to get these systems ready to meet declared emissions targets in the 2020s are so significant.

As the world’s largest emitter and a key emerging economy, China’s path towards building a successful national carbon market will be of global relevance. If China can get it right, then it will serve as a guide and inspiration for planned emissions trading systems in emerging economies.

Source: https://www.chinadialogue.org.cn/blog/10505-Carbon-markets-must-balance-stability-and-adaptability/en

Overstretched Cities: The 100 Million City: Is 21st Century Urbanisation Out of Control?
06 Apr, 2018

Latest UN projections expect the world’s population to grow by 2.9 billion – equal to another China and India – in the next 33 years, and possibly by a further three billion by the end of the century. By then, says the UN, humanity is expected to have developed into an almost exclusively urban species with 80-90% of people living in cities.

Whether those cities develop into sprawling, chaotic slums – with unbreathable air, uncontrolled emissions and impoverished populations starved of food and water – or become truly sustainable depends on how they respond. Many economists argue that population growth is needed to create wealth, and that urbanisation significantly reduces humanity’s environmental impact. Other observers fear cities are becoming ungovernable – too unwieldy to adapt to rising temperatures and sea levels, and prone to pollution, water shortages and ill health.

Many cities are already investing in clean transport and water, sewage, renewable energy, planning, wellbeing and good housing for all. Others face what seem like insurmountable problems.

Projections suggest cities will swell at an astonishing pace – but whether that means our salvation or an eco-disaster is by no means certain.


Tracking the Environmental Performance of Industry in Europe: New Interactive Country Profiles
04 Apr, 2018

Industry across Europe is responsible for more than half of all carbon dioxide, particulate matter and other key pollutants emitted into the air, according to updated industrial pollution country profiles. The 33 profiles of the member countries of the EEA (EEA-33) give an updated snapshot of sources of industrial pollution across Europe. The interactive profiles summarise the latest data available (from 2015) related to industry, and cover air and water emissions, waste generation (in this case from 2014), energy and water use.

Industry makes a significant contribution to Europe's economic wellbeing and is responsible for more than a fifth of economic value generated across the EEA-33. European Union policies — specifically the EU's Industrial Policy Strategy — aim for a low-carbon industrial sector: one that is based on circular material flows that draw less and less on natural resources, reduces pollutant emissions to air, water and land, and generates decreasing amounts of waste over time.

Source: https://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/tracking-the-environmental-performance-of

Achieving A Sustainable, Low-Carbon Future Will Be A Huge Challenge for European Society
03 Apr, 2018

Shifting to an environmentally sustainable society will bring huge challenges for Europe, involving fundamental changes in how it meets its demand for necessities such as food, energy, transport and housing. Diverse academic and policy communities are confronting these challenges, according to a European Environment Agency report published today, which brings together insights from different perspectives as to how such a complex transition could be achieved.

The EEA report, ‘Perspectives on transitions to sustainability,’ presents a variety of analytical perspectives on systemic change, exploring what insights they collectively offer for policy, governance and knowledge creation. The report includes five academic papers drafted by internationally recognised experts in the field of sustainability transitions. For each of the five perspectives, the papers explore the conceptual background and understanding of how systemic changes occur, presenting their strengths and weaknesses and their implications for governance.

Source: https://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/achieving-a-sustainable-low-carbon

Cities and Scientific Community Unite to Plan an Ambitious New Climate Change Agenda
02 Apr, 2018

The IPCC Cities & Climate Change Science Conference, the “Change for Climate” Global Mayors Summit brought together policymakers, scientists and city networks on March 4, to create a new dialogue between these vital groups of climate change stakeholders. Though cities and researchers work diligently to address their individual climate concerns and priorities, rarely have they had the mechanism to align their activities. Given the speed of climate change and the necessity of a collective knowledge base, these groups must now work together to advance innovation for quicker and more ambitious local climate action.

The Summit, hosted by the City of Edmonton, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), convened mayors from Canada, Ecuador, United States and India, key members from the science community and the world’s major city networks C40, ICLEI and UCLG to discuss the critical role cities play in addressing climate change. The Summit initiated a new platform that will raise the bar on climate action in cities worldwide and serve as a catalyst for further city- and climate-focused dialogues between city practitioners and scientists at events.

During the conference, the importance of sound research and city data played a major role in the discussion. Data insights are increasingly informing cities’ climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, and it’s vital that local decision makers and researchers have opportunities to continue engaging each other to further refine and advance their joint goals.

Source: http://www.iclei.org/details/article/cities-and-scientific-community-unite-to-plan-an-ambitious-new-climate-change-agenda.html

What We Can Learn from The Dutch City Of Nijmegen, This Year’s European Green Capital
17 Feb, 2018

Since 2010, the European Green Capital scheme run by the European Commission has been doing just that, with cities all over Europe vying to be awarded the title of “European Green Capital”. Sweden’s Stockholm won the inaugural title, followed by Hamburg in Germany; Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain; Nantes in France, Copenhagen in Denmark; Bristol in the UK; Ljubljana in Slovenia and Essen in Germany which picked up the accolade last year.

For 2018, the city of Nijmegen picks up the mantle becoming, rather surprisingly given the cycle-friendly nature of the country, the Netherlands’ first Green Capital. Situated in the East of the country near to the German border, the city will use the next 12 months acting as a role model for sustainable urban development, sharing and promoting best practices that have been tried and tested there.

Source: Sustainable Brands

In Cremona, Ideas to Make The ‘Circular Economy’ Real for Cities
03 Jan, 2018

CREMONA, Italy — On Saturday mornings, residents of this tidy city of 72,000 crowd into a former market for fruit and vegetables in order to donate old clothes and housewares or pick up a used toy or book.

Second-hand markets are nothing new, of course. But the one here, inauguralted a year ago and known as the Centro del RI-USO, is part of a much larger and very forward-looking local policy on waste management that seeks to reduce what residents throw away and increase what gets reused and recycled.

Cremona has become a European test ground for new ideas to promote a “circular economy” —  a concept that seeks to reduce waste and extend the useful life of resources. In the last two years alone, Cremona has increased the percentage of waste collected separately — necessary for recycling — from 53 percent to 72 percent.

The city has made recycling easier by implementing door-to-door collection. That’s still quite unusual in Italy — in Rome, residents must take their paper or glass to special bins on the street. In Cremona’s city centre, residents put paper in bins outside their buildings one day and plastics, glass or organic waste on other days. Vehicles of different sizes make the pickups — smaller vehicles are used in the narrow streets of the city centre.

Cremona is also testing the introduction of a tariff on the waste that can’t be recycled. In two neighbourhoods, the city gives residents orange 60-litre trash bags; the more bags residents put out, the higher their trash collection fees. The idea is to send residents a price signal that encourages them to reduce the amount of material they throw away.

“Waste recycling is not only a social matter, but also cultural,” says Mayor Gianluca Galimberti, who has made increasing the amount of waste recycled a key priority since his election in 2014. “The level of waste recycled says a lot about the community, its relationship with things and the surrounding environment. That is the reason that pushed us to work hard on this objective. And we got an historic result for the city, laying firm foundations for further actions toward a circular economy.”

Pan-European effort

Reducing waste is serious business in Cremona. There’s a deputy mayor in charge of promoting a circular economy here, Alessia Manfredini. She works on communicating with residents to foster behavioural changes, such as properly separating recyclables. And she’s led Cremona officials on tours of recycling centres across Northern Italy.

“The comparison with other cities was important for us in order to better define our strategies and actions in the field,” Manfredini says. It also helped the city connect with broader waste-related initiatives and funding streams across Europe, she says.

This local commitment toward dialogue with other cities, as well as universities and research centres, pushed Cremona to lead a larger European project on waste-management strategies. It’s called UrbanWINS,and it’s financed by the European Commission. Launched in July 2016, the project is analyzing current strategies for waste prevention and management in 24 European cities (Bucharest, Turin and some municipalities near Rome are among the pilot cities) with the objective of highlighting the most innovative plans.

The three-year project, also involving global networks such as ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, as well as various European universities, NGOs and the Italian Institute of Statistics, will study the “urban metabolism”. That is, it will look at how materials flow through cities and seek a better understanding of what gets produced, consumed and discarded.

The main objective of the project is to help local governments define more holistic strategic plans that not only deal with waste more efficiently but also prevent waste from being created in the first place. One of the tools expected to be developed is a model that demonstrates material flows in different kinds of urban contexts: big cities, small ones, industrial centres or historical places.

“This tool is innovative in Italy because it is not only based on the analysis on the amount of waste produced but on the consumption of materials,” says Livia Mazzà of Ecosistemi, an environmental consultancy and scientific partner of UrbanWINS. “It will reflect on the sources of production and promote a deeper understanding on reducing and reusing waste.”

Another tool of the project is to foster an active dialogue about waste among local residents and stakeholders. Waste management is not typically a big topic of public-participation schemes in Europe. But in June, Cremona and other cities involved in the project hosted the first of several public debates — or agoras — over how residents perceive waste management and how it can be improved. Online detates are coming as well.

Changing attitudes

Cremona is planning to make the agora a permanent forum for public dialogue on waste management. Keeping the local community engaged will be a challenge, particularly on an issue that many people prefer not to think about. But officials here hope that the public will remain engaged if they can continue developing concrete actions that improve quality of life.

One focus area is in the schools. Since 2014, the city has hosted an annual competition called Piccoli Passi, or “small steps”. It’s aimed at fostering sustainable behaviours among students and administrators. Lesson plans about recycling begin each year in March. In May, an official measurement of recycling at each school begins. The schools are ranked and children at the schools that do best get rewards. Another part of the schools competition focuses on reducing food waste in canteens.

The city is also taking aim at food waste in restaurants. In Italy, it’s unusual for restaurant patrons to bring home any leftovers from their meal — it’s seen as a sign of hunger or poverty. So uneaten food ends up in the trash. Cremona is working on changing that attitude through a campaign called Tenga il resto, or “keep the rest”. The city has distributed 100,000 recyclable containers to two dozen restaurants, in hopes of convincing patrons that bringing leftovers home is the right thing to do for the environment.

Cremona is also looking to strengthen the role of the Centro del RI-USO, which is managed by a community group called Amici di Emmaus. It’s intended not only as a second-hand market but also as an incubator for practices of urban sustainability. For example, there will be trainings for children and families on how to reduce the amount of materials they consume. A group that promotes purchases of foods and goods produced locally or through “fair-trade” supply chains will also host meetings.

Mayor Galimberti says all of these strategies and more will be needed to make the circular economy a reality in Cremona. “What is needed is a multidisciplinary and systemic approach,” he says. “A local community well educated to the use of the things is a community that lives better.”


Green Finance to Help Reduce Pollution, Boost Industrial Upgrading
14 Dec, 2017

Move makes china the first country to build a national system to boost green finance. As China strives to protect its ecological integrity, the financial sector is coming to the aid to contain pollution and help advance the industrial transformation.Green finance-a concept still unfamiliar to most-entered the economic lexicon last week after the central government decided to set up five pilot zones nationwide.The State Council, China's Cabinet, arrived at the decision at an executive meeting, which was presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on June 14. Financial institutions will further enhance their shoring-up for environmental protection projects and industrial upgrading with favorable policies on interest payments and loans.The pilot zones will be set up in Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guizhou provinces and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, according to a statement released after the meeting.Systematical innovation for green finance will increase the financial sector's support to improve ecology and boost the efficient utilization of resources. The statement said the pilot zones are also an important way to continue China's commitment to the Paris climate accord after US President Donald Trump announced the US would withdraw from the agreement early this month.

The statement said the government will support financial institutions to set up green finance departments and welcome foreign capital to participate in green investments. The development of "green credit" will be encouraged to take the environmental credentials of companies into account. The country will start pilot markets for trading rights of resources such as water and energy. The central government will provide support in fiscal, tax and land policies for green industries and projects, while a risk prevention mechanism will be established.

Green finance was first proposed in the Government Work Report delivered by Li in March 2016. The term, reiterated by the premier in this year's work report, was first officially defined in a guideline co-released by the National Development and Reform Commission and another six ministries in August. By definition, it means financial services that help increase investment and financing, project operations and risk management in fields such as environmental protection, energy conservation, clean energy, green transport and buildings.

The guideline made China the first country where the central government boosts green finance nationwide by building a national system, Chen Yulu, vice-governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said during a policy briefing on Friday.

"The necessity to establish such pilot zones cannot be overestimated as the decision was the first concrete measure to implement the guideline," said Wang Yao, president of the International Institute of Green Finance at the Central University of Finance and Economics.

The pilot zones have already industrialized, or are undergoing industrial upgrading, or are in far-flung and less-developed regions, Wang said. Experience and lessons can be absorbed from different conditions, which can easily adapt to other regions, he added.

"We still lack experience in the new green finance, which demands pilot reforms to find replicable practices in wider regions," the premier told the State Council meeting.

Chen said each of the pilot regions had different conditions. Zhejiang and Guangdong have developed economies and financial sectors, but are eager to upgrade their current development models. How to integrate the financial market with industrial upgrading will be a key for the two provinces, he said. For example, the city of Huzhou in Zhejiang is already one of the country's five cities which have compiled a "balance sheet" of natural resources. Quzhou city has carried out a pioneering project for green credits, green bonds and industrial funds, Chen said. These advantages will facilitate the establishment of new pilot zones, he added. In comparison, Guizhou and Jiangxi are less-developed economically, but possess rich resources for green industries. The two provinces are set to boost green finance on their way to a less-polluting model for economic growth, which will focus on modern agriculture, rural drainage systems and energy conservation. Nevertheless, Xinjiang is an important gateway of the Belt and Road Initiative and will lay more emphasis on fields such as clean energy and high-end manufacturing, including solar power equipment, Chen said.

Lu Zhengwei, chief economist of the Industrial Bank Co Ltd, said each of the five regions has its own conditions while building a green finance system. By carrying out the project, China's green finance will proceed more easily with lessons learnt, he said.

By Hu Yongqi | sources: China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-20 07:45

Website link:  http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2017-06/20/content_29817119.htm

One Planet Summit Raises Ambition on Climate Finance
12 Dec, 2017

On December 12, global heads of state, mayors and business leaders gathered in Paris to celebrate the second anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement. The One Planet Summit featured a range of high profile announcements on climate finance from governments, banks, business, and investors. 

The United States is the only country not to have accepted the Paris Agreement so President Trump was reportedly not invited. But the summit shows that Trump’s position has not dampened global climate action. With the risks of climate change rising on the global agenda, momentum continues to build in finance and business, as well as by governments.

Shifting from coal to clean

One of the headline announcements was from the World Bank Group, which will stop investing in upstream oil and gas from 2019. This matters because according to recent data, it continued to spend on oil and gas after the Paris deal, investing around a billion dollars in fossil fuel exploration in 2016.

Momentum to phase out coal was also given a boost. The “Powering Past Coal” alliance led by the UK and Canada added Sweden and California to its membership, plus 24 new businesses. However, a major test will be whether it can sign up an emerging economy in Asia where much new coal investment is located.

In another major announcement, the 23 largest national and regional development banks agreed to align their finance with the Paris Agreement. The International Development Finance Club represents over 69 countries and holds assets of more than US$4 trillion (26.5 trillion yuan). Its largest member is China Development Bank, which had US 130 billion  (860 billion yuan) of commitments in 2015.

Ensuring that finance from large public banks is in line with Paris is essential because public institutions can help to boost private investment in sustainable projects by reducing risks. For example, the State Bank of India highlighted a new partnership with the World Bank to provide new lines of credit for rooftop solar energy, which should encourage more investment in the sector.

The World Bank also announced it will apply a shadow carbon price  on all projects in high-emitting sectors to take account of pollution costs. Former US Secretary of State John Kerry described pricing carbon as the “single biggest thing we can do” on climate change.

China was also in the spotlight at the summit. Top green finance official Ma Jun said that by 2020 “every listed company in China must disclose information on environmental impacts”. China may have a third of the world’s installed clean energy capacity, but the climate impacts of its overseas investments through its Belt and Road Initiative are causing concern. Ma Jun acknowledged that emissions from the Belt and Road “could be three times China’s emissions” if nothing is done. 

Private sector actions

There were numerous pledges from the private sector on pulling funding out of fossil fuels. French insurance giant AXA will phase out insurance for new coal construction projects and Dutch Bank ING will end coal lending by 2025.

Global investors also launched the five-year Climate Action 100+ to curb their emissions. Impressively, investors with more than US$26.3 trillion (174 trillion yuan) in assets have signed up.

2017 has been a year of green finance opportunities, with global issuance on green bonds reaching US$100 billion (662 billion yuan) and HSBC recently launching the world’s first  US 1 billion sustainable development bond (6.62 billion yuan).

Bank of England governor Mark Carney, revealed more than 230 companies have committed to the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, representing a market capitalisation of over US$6.3 trillion (41.7 billion yuan). The Task Force recommends companies reveal information about harmful investment, which Carney said is now “entering the mainstream”.

Japan’s pension fund GPIF, the largest pension fund in the world, announced a “science based target” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Japan is aiming for 100 companies to have such a target by 2020, ensuring a reduction in fossil investments.

Opportunities for cities

The new initiatives pose opportunities for Asia’s fast-growing cities. Signatories of the Global Covenant of Mayors, which include 34 cities in East and South Asia, represent more than 10% of the world’s population. This group announced a new climate partnership with the World Bank  to invest US$4.5 billion (30 billion yuan) in 150 cities around the world. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will also invest heavily in cities following the launch of its Green Cities Climate Finance Accelerator.

With unprecedented hurricanes devastating several Caribbean islands this year, their leaders will now create the world’s first “climate smart zone” to implement an ambitious US$8 billion (53 billion yuan) plan, including 100% renewable energy. And thinking long term, Costa Ricam, Ethippia, Germany and Sweden were among 14 countries promising to develop plans to be carbon neutral by 2050. 

Finally, China is expected to launch its emission trading scheme soon. As the world’s leading energy financer, China is pivotal to achieving the Paris Agreement. After these high-profile announcements by development banks, investors and insurers, attention will now turn to China and its efforts to green both its financial system and overseas investments.

source: The Paris Agreement’s second anniversary was met with numerous commitments on green finance, writes Helena Wright


New ‘trackless train’ which runs on virtual rail lines launched in China
30 Oct, 2017

Is it a tram, or is it a train, or even a fancy bus? The world’s first electric-powered ‘trackless train’ has been launched in China. Using virtual rail lines on the streets of Zhuzhou, Hunan Province, the new Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART) system can travel up to speeds of 43 mph.The new trackless trains are 30 metre long and can carry upto 300 passengers.

China’s CRRC Corporation, which is one of the world’s biggest train manufacturers, started working on the new technology in 2013 and the system is expected to be rolled out to other cities next year. The trains carry up to 300 passengers and the new system is a cheaper and greener alternative than building new train or tram tracks. People’s Daily Online reported 10 minutes of charging can propel the train for 15.5 miles and each train will have a life-span of around 25 years.

After just 10 minutes of charging, the train can travel 25 kilometers (15.5 miles). The invisible railway uses dotted lines painted on the road and three ‘smart trains’ currently have drivers but are expected to be automated in the future. Chief engineer Feng Jianghua explained the train uses hi-tech sensors to judge distances by the millimeter and continually collects travel information as it moves.

The biggest benefit of the new system will be its low cost and Mr Jianghu estimated it would one fifth the price of building physical tramways in China. Three trains are being tested in Zhuzhou and the line will open to the public in Spring next year.


Source: http://metro.co.uk/2017/10/28/new-trackless-train-which-runs-on-virtual-rail-lines-launched-in-china-7034155/

Minister of MoHURD Signs New Framework of Cooperation (FoC)
31 May, 2017

In late May, UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Juan Clos attended the One Belt One Road Forum (BRF) and signed three new MoUs in an effort to strengthen colloboration between UN-Habitat and China under the One Belt One Road Initiative. 

In the context of the visit, Dr. Clos met with the Minister of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MoHURD), H.E. Chen Zhenggao, and signed a Framework of Cooperation (FoC).

City of Qingdao Joins C40
24 May, 2017

We're excited for Qingdao to join the ranks of the C40 and to see it support the Chinese government's commitment to Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The other Chinese cities in the C40 are Beijing, Chengdu, Dalian, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan.

2016 Signing Ceremony of Cooperation Projects Under The EU-China Urbanization Partnership
18 Jul, 2016

On 13 July 2016, during the 18th China-EU Summit in Beijing, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker attended the Signing Ceremony of Cooperation Projects under the EU-China Urbanization Partnership. Entrepreneurs and officials signed 12 agreements and memorandums of understanding on urban development.

Both the Chinese and European leadership has attached great importance to promoting cooperation on urbanisation. Since the launch of EU-China Urbanization Partnership by Premier Li and former European Commission President Barroso in May 2012, cooperation on urbanisation between the two sides have made great progress.

Over the past four years since 2012, China and Europe have established practical cooperation mechanisms at various levels and sectors. Gradually, the China-EU urbanisation partnership has moved from high-level, strategic dialogue to practical cooperation on concrete challenges. More concrete and innovative partnerships have been established between cities, enterprises and institutions. Partnerships on urbanisation have become a key pillar in an increasingly comprehensive cooperation between China and the EU.

Source: CHINANEWS.COM (Chinese only)

Academic Committee of China Eco-City Academy Appointed
08 Apr, 2016

30 March 2016, Beijing-The 28-member Academic Committee of China Eco-City Academy (CECA) was appointed today during the 12th International Conference on Green and Energy-efficient Building & New Technologies and Products Expo.

Mr. Sun Anjun, Director-General of the Department of Urban-Rural Planning of MoHURD, said that cities are becoming increasingly important in China’s economic and social development. Building eco-cities is in line with the requirements of the economic new normal and is essential to achieving the China dream.

Congratulating the committee’s appointment, Mr. Zhang Zhenshan, Representative of UN Habitat for China, said that China has made great achievements in sustainable development. He pointed out that the international community is also making efforts to pursue sustainable urbanization pathways, referring to the Sustainable Development Goals relating to cities as well as Habitat III to be held this year.

Mr. Frederic Asseline, Team Leader of Europe-China Eco-Cities Link, expressed hope that EC-Link could become a bridge between CECA and European experience and expertise in eco-city development.

CECA was formally established in November 2015 and registered under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, which is itself under the State Council. CECA is primarily a research and knowledge centre, with the objective of becoming a world-class player in generating best practices for sustainable urban development. Later in 2016, a China Eco City Alliance will be registered under the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China, and the Alliance will have the status of a Non-Governmental Organization.

CECA Academic Committee consists of prominent experts in the field of ecological cities, including Jiang Yi, Vice Dean of School of Architecture at Tsinghua University, Wu Zhiqiang, Vice President of Tongji University and Qu Jiuhui, Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering.

SWITCH-ASIA II - SusBuild Kick-off in Chongqing, April 12
07 Apr, 2016

China’s unprecedented socio-economic growth drives expansion in the building sector.  Meanwhile, building energy consumption has increased by 40% since 1990. The building sector now accounts for about 30% of the final energy consumption in China and thus plays a vital role in China’s pursuit of a more resource efficient and low carbon economy.  By 2020, the Chinese government aims for 50% of new constructions to   reach a green building standard. It is estimated that only 10% of new construction projects currently reach a meaningful standard. Of those 10% about 90% are located in the more developed eastern parts of China.  In western Chinese regions such as Chongqing and Yunnan Province, new green building construction is still in early trials. 

Micro-, small-, and medium-enterprises (MSME) are contracted in the development of many building projects and play a major role in shaping the quality of new buildings. This is where the EC-funded SusBird project aims at engaging with MSMEs in the City of Chongqing and Yunan province, both located in western China.

The project will provide

  • capacity building and technical support to MSMEs along the supply chain
  • guidance to facility managers
  • trainings to financial institutions for the provisioning of loans for green projects
  • guidance for effective networking amongst stakeholders
  • advice to both national and local government

The project will run for four years (2016-2020) and is lead by the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy with support from the China Association of Building Energy Efficiency and the Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture. The consortium will work with econet china/German Industry & Commerce Greater China and GIZ.

On 12-13 April, SusBuild, an EU/Switch-Asia-funded project will have its kick-off event in Chongqing with MOHURD officials, public and private stakeholders from Chongqing and Yunnan, representatives from building associations from all provinces in western China as well as German organizations/enterprises.