URBANIZATION NEWS

Germany To Issue 'Green Bonds' Worth Up To $13B This Year
25 Aug, 2020

The German government plans to generate up to 11 billion euros ($13 billion) for clean transportation and renewable energy projects this year by issuing so-called green bond, officials said on Monday. 

The step is part of an effort to meet demand for environmentally friendly investments and follows the path already taken by other countries, including neighbouring France. Each green bond will mirror a regular debt issuance by the German government, known as "bunds", which are considered safe havens for investors.

Source: https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/germany-to-issue-green-bonds-worth-up-to-13b-this-year/77732995

It's Time to Improve Waste Management in China
25 Aug, 2020

The last three years have seen China's policymakers pay more attention to the country's worsening waste problem. In 2018, China's municipal solid waste (MSW) reached 22.8 million tonnes, a quantity that is expected to climb up to 409 million tonnes by 2030 as China continues to urbanize and grow economically. This swelling volume of garbage poses a threat to both the environment and the climate.

In 2017, China launched a pilot program of new waste sorting regulations in selected cities, and policymakers are now planning a national scale-up. In late April this year, the Chinese government approved changes to the Solid Waste Law, making waste sorting a core element of the revised law.

Source:

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-08-25/It-s-time-to-improve-waste-management-in-China-TeO2Tlj0aY/index.html

Shopping Centre Lippulaiva to Become A Pioneer of Sustainable Energy Solutions
25 Aug, 2020

Shopping centre Lippulaiva, due to be opened in spring 2022, will become the flagship of local energy production. The largest geothermal heating and cooling facility for a commercial building in Europe is being built under the shopping centre, and it will generate carbon-free energy to meet almost the entire heating and cooling needs of the shopping centre. The facility and several other sustainable energy solutions make it possible for Lippulaiva to participate in the EU's SPARCS project, which aims to promote energy efficiency and electric-powered modes of transport. 

There are 31 partners around Europe involved in the EU's project. Along with Leipzig, Germany, the City of Espoo is one of the lighthouse cities of the project, where the majority of solutions are implemented. In addition, the project includes five fellow cities, where proven solutions are implemented later on: Reykjavik, Maia, Kladno, Lviv and Kifissia. The total duration of the project, which started in October 2019, is five years. Citycon was invited to SPARCS because of the Lippulaiva construction project due to its wide variety of sustainable energy solutions.

Source: https://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/shopping-centre-lippulaiva-to-become-a-pioneer-of-sustainable-energy-solutions-citycon-to-participate-in-the-eu-s-sustainable-energy-project-sparcs-892082908.html 

China's Future in Low Carbon and Clean Energy Industry Expansion 2020 - Renewable Energy and the New Energy Vehicle (NEV) Industry Will Lead the Way
24 Aug, 2020

In the coming years, low-carbon industry developments will set the economic and business agenda in China and other major economies as climate change becomes more severe in its effects. 

The renewable energy and NEV industries will see an accelerated shift in investment activities. Renewable energy and electric mobility are among the most effective tools in the fight against climate change, and more countries are in a joint effort to mature these industries.

Therefore, there will be more room for renewable energy companies to expand their business overseas - especially for Chinese companies as they manufacture renewable energy products way cheaper and in a mass scale due to the economies of scale, government support and experience. Chinese NEV manufacturers also have the same advantage as renewable energy companies in terms of attracting overseas consumers with lower prices.

Source:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/chinas-future-in-low-carbon-and-clean-energy-industry-expansion-2020----renewable-energy-and-the-new-energy-vehicle-nev-industry-will-lead-the-way-301117096.html 

Stronger Risk Management on Health and Water Disasters in Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic
23 Aug, 2020

Stronger and more integrated risk management is needed on health and water-related disasters in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, experts heard today at an international online conference held in the presence of the Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan.

The International Online Conference to Address Water-related Disasters under COVID-19 was jointly organized by the High-Level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Tokyo-based National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), and the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD).

Source: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/08/23/stronger-risk-management-on-health-and-water-disasters-in-wake-of-covid-19-pandemic/ 

New Low-Cost Flow Battery Could Sustain A Future Powered by Renewable Energy
22 Aug, 2020

Clean and sustainable energy offers a real answer to today’s energy crisis. But it takes a lot more than just solar farms and wind turbines for renewable energy to benefit society and environment. Progress in the field hinges on the inherently random and intermittent nature of renewables.

Storing excess electricity is essential for creating a more flexible and reliable grid system or for backing up stand-alone energy systems. However, current energy storage technologies do not satisfy the complex set of technological, environmental and economic requirements set by the renewable industries.

Looking to crack the renewable energy storage problem, the EU-funded VR-ENERGY project has developed a new version of vanadium redox flow technology. This flexible, modular technology can be sized precisely to the power and energy needs of a renewable energy installation. Furthermore, the battery retains more than 80 % of its efficiency, even at low charge, and 100 % of its original capacity after infinite cycles, has a long lifetime and requires low maintenance.

Source: https://cordis.europa.eu/article/id/421878-new-low-cost-flow-battery-could-sustain-a-future-powered-by-renewable-energy 

Is China Building More Waste Incinerators Than It Needs?
21 Aug, 2020

The vision to make China an “ecological civilisation” has been espoused at the highest political level. It includes, among other things, efficiently using resources, reducing waste and using extracted materials in a circular manner. Reaching these objectives will require timely and well-planned investments in waste-management capacity.

China has invested largely in incineration over the past decade to help manage the massive growth in the amount of municipal solid waste, produced by homes and businesses. The latest government data, from 2018, shows that 99 per cent of collected waste was managed, up from 67 per cent in just 10 years.

Source: https://www.eco-business.com/opinion/is-china-building-more-waste-incinerators-than-it-needs/

Industry 4.0 to Society 5.0
21 Aug, 2020

By 2050, Our World In Data projects 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. In fact, urbanization will add another 2.5 billion people to cities over the next three decades, meaning that environmental, social, and economic efficiency is a must.

Since the emergence of Industry 4.0, it has been apparent in all sectors of manufacturing that automation, digitalization, and other information technologies are boosting productivity and transforming factories. But despite the rapid advancement of these technologies, there are concerns about potentially adverse societal consequences.

Automation displacing human roles and increasing disparity and unequal distribution of wealth are factors that leave question marks over the impact digital technology has on society. However, during a time in which things, people and devices are connected, a new social revolution could allow these technologies to meet the needs of the people and the environment.

Source: https://www.eetimes.com/industry-4-0-to-society-5-0/# 

Electric Bus Market to Hit 256 Thousand Units by 2027
19 Aug, 2020

The global electric bus market volume to reach 256 thousand units by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 11.58% during the forecast period. Increasing interest in e-mobility solutions for urban areas will create multiple opportunities in this market, shares Fortune Business Insights™ in its report, titled “Electric Bus Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Battery Electric Vehicle, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle), and Regional Forecasts, 2020-2027”. The transport sector is a notable contributor to air pollution worldwide. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), this sector accounted for 18% of all manmade carbon dioxide emissions in 2015.

Source: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/08/19/2080848/0/en/Electric-Bus-Market-to-Hit-256-Thousand-Units-by-2027-Increasing-Dependence-on-Public-Transport-Infrastructure-Worldwide-to-Drive-Market-Growth-Says-Fortune-Business-Insights.html 

Industry 4.0 & the Water Sector
17 Aug, 2020

The first three industrial revolutions transformed our modern society with mechanization, mass production and digital technology. The world around us fundamentally changed. The fourth industrial revolution is now upon us.

Industry 4.0, as it is called, will transform modern society and economies through innovation brought about by advancements in digitization, interconnectivity, data analysis and automation. The technological elements of Industry 4.0 integrate physical production and operations with smart digital technology, machine learning, and big data to create a more holistic and connected world. The result is productivity far beyond what has been seen in the past three industrial revolutions.

Source: https://waterfm.com/industry-4-0-the-water-sector/ 

EU Cooperation Programs on Sustainability Set to Start in ASEAN Countries
15 Aug, 2020

Since 2014, the European Union (EU) has funded virtual integration programs in ASEAN with over 250 million euro (US$296 million) in addition to over 2 billion euro to individual projects.

This year, the EU is allotting 800 million euro to ASEAN states to address the economic, social and political consequences brought by the pandemic, with a focus on sustainability.

On Thursday, EU Ambassador to ASEAN Igor Driesmans announced the programs the EU will support, which are listed below:

  • Smart Green Cities Program
  • Farmers Organizations Support Program (AFOSP)
  • ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions Program

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2020/08/15/eu-cooperation-programs-on-sustainability-set-to-start-in-asean-countries.html 

ADB Approves $73 Million Package to Develop Waste-to-Energy Facility in Maldives
13 Aug, 2020

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $73.39 million concessional loan and grant to the Government of Maldives to develop a waste treatment facility using waste-to-energy (WTE) technology and disposal infrastructure for the Greater Malé region and neighboring outer islands.

Greater Malé and its neighboring 32 outer islands—which host 86 tourist resorts—suffer from severe environmental pollution and deteriorating livability due to inadequate collection and haphazard disposal of solid waste. Over 830 tons per day (tpd) of solid waste are generated in the area and dumped or burned at the 10-hectare dump site on Thilafushi island. Established in 1992, this dump site has no pollution control measures. The site contaminates the surrounding environment and is a public health and environmental hazard threatening fisheries and tourism.

Source: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/08/13/adb-approves-73-million-package-to-develop-waste-to-energy-facility-in-maldives/ 

The Business Case for Sustainable Urban Transport
13 Aug, 2020

Transport: it’s an indispensable part of modern living. The composition of our society’s infrastructure gives vehicles a pivotal role in our daily lives. Yet, at a time when the effects of climate change are clearly visible, it’s untenable that the world’s fastest growing source of energy-related carbon emissions should remain unchecked. 

The reality is that investment in low-carbon passenger transport has the potential to deliver enormous economic and social returns, and the ability to make a significant positive environmental impact.

Source: https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/news/business-case-sustainable-urban-transport-climate-change/583411/ 

A Sustainable Maritime Transport Sector
10 Aug, 2020

This month, we came one step closer to achieving a fully sustainable and decarbonised EU maritime transport sector. For far too long, shipping has been the only transport sector within the European Union without any emissions regulation.

In 2018 alone, ships emitted more than 130 million tonnes of CO2, that’s more than the annual CO2 emissions of Belgium. With the adoption - by the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee - of the report covering the “Regulation on monitoring, reporting and verifying carbon dioxide emissions from shipping,” we are making progress in our climate emergency fight and our efforts to reach the Paris Agreement’s climate goals.

Source:

https://www.theparliamentmagazine.eu/news/article/a-sustainable-maritime-transport-sector 

The EU Sets Recovery Sights Beyond Climate Change
10 Aug, 2020

The European Union’s economy, infrastructure and ambition is going through a paradigm shift. The bloc’s seven-year budget and recovery programme looks beyond jump-starting its economies in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 27 nations have set their sights on a 2050 target for a net carbon neutral economy to transform its energy, transport, agriculture and healthcare. The implications and opportunities for investors in the decade ahead will be profound.

While the pandemic has cost the lives of more than 700,000 and infected millions, undermining economies and challenging health systems globally, it has also concentrated the minds of EU leaders. As governments worldwide look for mechanisms to jump-start the economic recovery, the EU has used the Covid-19 pandemic as a catalyst to rally political support around a three-decade commitment to a cleaner future, and the technologies that make it possible.

Source:

https://www.lombardodier.com/contents/corporate-news/investment-insights/2020/august/the-eu-sets-recovery-sights-beyo.html

European Commission Pledges Additional €30m In Support for Lebanon
10 Aug, 2020

The Commission said the funding would help address the immediate needs of those affected by the deadly explosion in Beirut on 4 August, that killed more than 130 people. This comes on top of the €33m already pledged.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in a phone call with the Lebanese President, said the EU would do everything it could to help.

Representing the Commission at Sunday’s conference, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič echoed this, saying, “The EU has been helping Lebanon since immediately after the explosion, mobilising hundreds of search and rescue experts and sending medical aid to Beirut.”

Source: https://www.theparliamentmagazine.eu/news/article/european-commission-pledges-additional-30m-in-support-for-lebanon 

Geopolitical Theory of Water
08 Aug, 2020

Geopolitics, as an autonomous discipline, has a very particular cultural genesis, and it is not possible to ignore the deepening of the era in which it developed. His great forefathers can be considered the first geographers who in the nineteenth century began to think of the world as a relationship between human groups and territorial spaces. This relationship, of course, produced organizational differences and particularities, and in turn was produced by contextual differences and particularities, in a two-way relationship. This is the concept that will later be called localization. This is how geography, according to its first systematizers, could be nothing more than “anthropic geography”.

Source: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/08/08/geopolitical-theory-of-water/ 

Green & Sustainable Finance
07 Aug, 2020

The green and sustainable finance market has grown significantly in recent years and is still experiencing an upswing despite the Corona crisis. The European climate targets and the sustainability policy are also addressing the financial system. "Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development", demands the Paris Climate Agreement. The European Commission's Action Plan on Sustainable Finance aims to strengthen the role of the financial sector in achieving a functioning economy in which environmental and social policy goals are achieved. To this end, numerous standards and guidelines are provided at regulatory and organisational level.

Regulation (EU) 2020/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2020 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment, and amending Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 (Taxonomy Regulation) entered into force on 12 July 2020. It provides the legal framework for an EU-wide uniform classification system for sustainable investments and the criteria for determining when an economic activity can be classified as environmentally sustainable. In the future, this taxonomy can also be used as a guide in the area of credit financing.

Source: https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=b30abc1e-631b-4cef-a150-accefdeb682d 

EU Waste Shipment Regulation Revision Must Not Hinder EFW, Says ESWET
05 Aug, 2020

A policy briefing released by the European Suppliers of Waste-to-Energy Technology (ESWET) has called for the European Commission’s revision of the Waste Shipment Regulation to continue to support the shipment of waste for energy recovery in the EU.

As part of the European Green Deal, the European Commission committed to revising the Waste Shipment Regulation, holding a public consultation which ran until 30 July,

In response, ESWET’s policy briefing makes a number of recommendations for the revision of the Regulation. The briefing calls for the European Commission to adopt a proximity approach to waste exports – maintaining European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries as a preferential partner, and ‘taking responsibility for its own waste’.

Source: https://resource.co/article/eu-waste-shipment-regulation-revision-must-not-hinder-efw-says-eswet

How Can Businesses Boost Climate Disclosure and Green Investment in Line With Changing Demands?
03 Aug, 2020

The green finance sector had been growing exponentially pre-pandemic. As of June 2019, at least $30.7trn (£23.8trn) was held in investments marked specifically as ‘sustainable’ or ‘green’ – and increase of more than one-third in three years. While the majority of businesses are decreasing their overall investments as a result of Covid-19, the social impacts of the pandemic have led to a fresh wave of interest in ESG and a growing desire to eliminate greenwashing from this space.

Similar trends were already underway with climate disclosures. The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) surpassed 1,000 supporting organisations in February, while CDP charted an eightfold increase in corporates requesting suppliers’ environmental data within a decade.

With the pandemic placing further pressure on corporates to disclose their climate and nature-related risks and to go beyond incremental targets and investments on low-carbon technologies, the webinar provided best-practice advice for organisations of all sizes and sectors looking to get ahead of the curve and contribute to a truly green recovery.

Source:

https://www.edie.net/news/9/How-can-businesses-boost-climate-disclosure-and-green-investment-in-line-with-changing-demands-/ 

Why Is Building Renovation 'Cinderella' Of EU Green Deal?
30 Jul, 2020

It's unfortunate that it took a pandemic to see something so obvious. Energy efficiency is the Cinderella of climate solutions: virtuous and unassuming, but too often overlooked. Most people focus on her glamorous siblings – renewables and electric vehicles. Is it finally time for her glass slipper moment? 

The EU calls it the Renovation Wave, one of the central pillars of the European Green Deal. The ambition is to massively accelerate the rate of improvements to private and public sector buildings: going faster and deeper than ever before, in an effort to support the economic recovery from Covid-19. 

This is because energy efficiency is a jobs machine, making it one of the most attractive forms of economic stimulus. According to recent estimates from McKinsey, €1 invested today will add over €2 of value for a large European economy. Governments can double their money. 

Source: https://euobserver.com/opinion/149065 

Clean Energy Crowdfunding: Successes and Failures
27 Jul, 2020

Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have seen a surge in popularity in recent years, as entrepreneurs and innovators from a range of sectors look to appeal to would-be customers directly to fund their projects. The energy industry is no different, and new innovations in the renewables sector in particular have taken advantage of these networks to bring new clean energy projects to life outside of the traditional means of funding new technologies. 

The result has been a mixed bag, with dramatic successes mirrored by significant failures, with the difficulty inherent in crowdfunding – that a project must convince a wide range of people of the project’s benefits – making it difficult to identify a clear pattern in this recent trade of clean energy crowdfunding. From large-scale portable batteries to new renewable networks and experimental wave power generators, what are some of the successes and failures in this sector, and what lessons can be learned for the future?

Source: https://www.power-technology.com/features/clean-energy-crowdfunding-successes-and-failures/ 

Renewables Now EU's Biggest Source of Electricity: Study
22 Jul, 2020

Renewable energy sources such as the wind and the sun overtook fossil fuels as the European Union's main generators of electricity in the first half of this year, according to a new report published on Wednesday.

"In the first half of 2020, renewables -- wind, solar, hydro and bioenergy -- generated 40 percent of the EU-27's electricity, whereas fossil fuels generated 34 percent," the London-based think-tank Ember found in its study.

The amount of electricity generated by renewables in the EU's 27 member states rose by 11 percent in the period from January to June, Ember calculated.

Source:

https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/renewables-now-eus-biggest-source-of-electricity-study/77104615 

Co-operative Housing: A Greener and More Sustainable Way of Living?
20 Jul, 2020

Frankie lives in a six-bedroom house on the outskirts of Leeds. She is her own landlord, but doesn’t own the house. Instead she is part of a co-operative housing group: together, they have been able to buy the house and then rent it at an affordable price back to themselves as tenants.

Just a few miles away, another group has secured funding to design and build an eco-community of up to 30 households, including what is known as a common house: a shared house with a kitchen, laundry, workshops, a meeting space, guest rooms and gardens.

Source: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/07/communities-communal-living-cooperative-housing/ 

Governments and Companies Need to Fill the Plastic Data Gap
17 Jul, 2020

Nature is drowning in plastic waste. Every minute, the equivalent of one dump truck full of plastic enters our oceans alone, with dire consequences for people and wildlife. In response, many political and business leaders have committed to ending the flow of plastic into nature by 2030. But critical gaps in national-level data from governments and companies continue to impede this ambitious effort. Simply put, we can’t manage what we can’t measure.

If we want to keep plastic out of our oceans and rivers, we need to reduce or redesign unnecessary plastics, double the global recycling rate from 14 percent to 28 percent and shift to recycled or sustainably sourced bio-based plastic for plastic items that we can’t live without. But a strategy is only as good as the data behind it, and much of the data we have to work with is incomplete. Additionally, recent changes in recycling markets around the world, including shifts in domestic waste management and new restrictions on the import of plastic waste, have rendered much of the current data outdated.

Source: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/governments-and-companies-need-fill-plastic-data-gap 

Boosting the EU's Green Recovery: EU Invests Over €2 Billion In 140 Key Transport Projects to Jump-Start the Economy
16 Jul, 2020

The EU is supporting the economic recovery in all Member States by injecting almost €2.2 billion into 140 key transport projects. These projects will help build missing transport links across the continent, support sustainable transport and create jobs. The projects will receive funding through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the EU's grant scheme supporting transport infrastructure.

With this budget, the EU will deliver on its climate objectives set out in the European Green Deal. A very strong emphasis is on projects reinforcing railways, including cross-border links and connections to ports and airports. Inland waterway transport is boosted through more capacity and better multimodal connections to the road and rail networks. In the maritime sector, priority is given to short-sea-shipping projects based on alternative fuels and the installation of on-shore power supply for ports to cut emissions from docked ships.

Source:

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_1336 

Work on Getting City-Led Growth Right: Make The Process Of Urbanisation Sustainable, Inclusive And Productive
13 Jul, 2020

In a somewhat assertive article titled ‘Reimagining the city’ (Indian Express, June 8; bit.ly/2Coa2rs), Rajiv Kumar (vice-chairman, NITI Aayog) and Srijan Pal Singh (Dr Kalam Centre) have proposed that the existing urban and metro-centred habitation model should be reviewed, and in its place an alternative model that is ‘more frugal, more sustainable’ and which offers ‘more satisfying lifestyles and higher welfare levels’ be considered.

The authors show a preference for a model ‘where agriculture, industry, and service sectors are in sync for sustainable development’ and ‘which is in harmony with nature’. Specific mention is made in the article of Mahatma Gandhi’s model of ‘gram swaraj’, APJ Abdul Kalam’s vision of providing urban amenities in rural areas, and Nanaji Deshmukh’s idea of self-reliant village development as possible pathways for the future. Prima facie, the proposed model has a strong appeal; most countrymen at this time, having been witness to the most gruesome outward migration of millions of people from large cities, would opt for a change in the way city spaces are currently organised for living and livelihood.

Source: https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/work-on-getting-city-led-growth-right-make-the-process-of-urbanisation-sustainable-inclusive-and-productive/2021455/ 

Powering A Climate-Neutral Economy: Commission Sets Out Plans For The Energy System Of The Future And Clean Hydrogen
08 Jul, 2020

To become climate-neutral by 2050, Europe needs to transform its energy system, which accounts for 75% of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions.  The EU strategies for energy system integration and hydrogen, adopted today, will pave the way towards a more efficient and interconnected energy sector, driven by the twin goals of a cleaner planet and a stronger economy.

The two strategies present a new clean energy investment agenda, in line with the Commission's Next Generation EU recovery package and the European Green Deal. The planned investments have the potential to stimulate the economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis. They create European jobs and boost our leadership and competitiveness in strategic industries, which are crucial to Europe's resilience.

Source: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_1259

Advancing Sustainable Urban Mobility In Western Balkan Capitals: Tirana, Sarajevo Sumps Moving Forward
08 Jul, 2020

Increasing individual traffic, bad conditions of transport infrastructure, safety issues, noise, and air pollution – for decades, the capitals of the Western Balkan have been facing a broad range of concerns on their transport situation. Suffering from these conditions, cities all over the Western Balkan have started to rethink their urban mobility approach over the past years. The SUMSEEC II project of the Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy Efficiency (ORF-EE) has supported capitals of the region in developing and implementing Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs).

The development of SUMPs is actively promoted by the European Union. The plans foresee an interdisciplinary approach to mobility: SUMPs require good cooperation between different policy areas and sectors, as well as the transparent involvement of civil society.

In spring 2019, Tirana, Sarajevo and Podgorica have started the process of their SUMP development and there has been significant progress in the capitals’ transport planning since. Despite the limitations in free movement and for meetings since the outbreak of the Corona-Virus, the SUMP development in the region is currently still taking big steps forward.

Source: https://balkangreenenergynews.com/advancing-sustainable-urban-mobility-in-western-balkan-capitals-tirana-sarajevo-sumps-moving-forward/

Water Investments in Times of Covid-19: The Sector's Resilience
07 Jul, 2020

Water touches everyone on the planet. Many companies in the water ecosystem have weathered some of the global stock markets’ most recent and violent storms well. The reason for that lies within the nature of water investments. But, what has Covid-19 meant for water investments?

This crisis is different from anything else we have experienced in our lives. What has this meant for us as individuals and for our investments? Being «confined» at home has sharpened the focus for many on the content available in the media, the subscriptions they have to a range of online services such as music streaming, the software packages they need for work, communication and even education.

Source:

https://www.finews.com/news/english-news/advertorials/41980-natixis-thematics-asset-management-water-investments-times-of-covid-19-sector-s-resilience 

Eastern Europe Coal Exit Offers A €50bn Clean Power Opportunity
07 Jul, 2020

By the end of the decade, Poland could treble the amount of clean energy in its power mix and slash carbon emissions 40% lower than the amount recorded last year. That is one of the key takeaways from the Investing in the Recovery and Transition of Europe’s Coal Regions report published by Philanthropies and New Energy Finance arms of the Bloomberg empire in partnership with the European Commission’s Coal Regions in Transition Platform.

The authors of the study considered environmental laggard EU member states Bulgaria, Poland, Czechia and Romania – which account for two-thirds, or 50 GW, of the grid connected European coal fleet which has thus far not announced decommissioning plans. Germany has 46 GW of coal generation capacity but it is all slated for decommissioning by 2038.

Source: https://www.pv-magazine.com/2020/07/07/eastern-europe-coal-exit-offers-a-e50bn-clean-power-opportunity/ 

China Promulgates Amendment to Its Solid Waste Law
07 Jul, 2020

On April 29, 2020, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (“NPC”) approved an amendment to the country’s solid waste statute. The revised solid waste law will take effect on September 1, 2020.

The amendment introduces substantial changes, some of which are likely to have significant impacts on enterprises with operations in China. For example, the revision provides a new exclusion from the definition of “waste”; creates a series of new obligations on waste generators; sets out a solid legal basis for bans on waste imports and single-use plastics; increases monetary penalties for noncompliance; and adds other types of penalties for violations.

Source: https://www.letsrecycle.com/news/latest-news/china-promulgates-amendment-solid-waste-law/ 

Could Renewable Energy Be the Secret To Europe’s Economic Recovery Post-COVID-19?
06 Jul, 2020

As European countries such as Belgium and Sweden shutter coal power plants and invest in renewable energy sources, Eastern Europe has clung to coal—in part because the switch to renewables has been an expensive investment. But with wind and solar getting cheaper, and with a need for robust economic recovery plans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report shows how four Eastern European countries could affordably invest in clean energy, and with that investment, help bring about a green recovery for all of Europe.

A report from Bloomberg Philanthropies and BloombergNEF released Monday looks at the power sectors in Bulgaria, Czechia, Poland, and Romania—four countries that are among the European Union’s most coal-intensive economies, and which have not yet defined a plan to phase out coal fuel. Poland in particular is the EU’s largest producer of coal. In 2019, the country still planned to open new coal mines, despite the EU’s push for its member states to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/90524662/could-renewable-energy-be-the-secret-to-europes-economic-recovery-post-covid-19

Waste to Energy & The European Green Deal
03 Jul, 2020

Climate and sustainability goals have become the new raison d’être of the European Union and have been very much the driving force behind almost everything that the new European Commission has done so far. Shortly after taking office in December 2019, the new executive presented their big plan – the European Green Deal. 

The Commission is seeking not only to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, but is also introducing numerous environmental, energy and financial proposals in order to make Europe more sustainable in general. In this light it is important to come to evidence-based decisions to ensure that the intended results are achieved. Here, we highlight how waste management in general, and Waste to Energy (WtE) in particular, can contribute to the European climate mitigation, circularity and sustainability goals.

Source: https://waste-management-world.com/a/in-depth-waste-to-energy-the-european-green-deal 

World Bank Backs China’s Policy Framework For Eco-Industrial Parks
23 Jun, 2020

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a loan of $200 million to China for the Jiangxi Eco-industrial Parks Project, which will strengthen Jiangxi Province’s institutional and regulatory framework for eco-industrial parks.

This move will enable the regulation to be in line with international standards and helping to reduce the country’s pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. China’s industrial sector is responsible for around 70% of environmental pollution and 72% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the country.

As most industrial production takes place within industrial parks, these parks are thought to account for the majority of total resource use, pollution, and waste in the country. China has made the promotion of green industrial parks a central aspect of its strategy to green industries.

Source: https://www.esi-africa.com/industry-sectors/finance-and-policy/world-bank-backs-chinas-policy-framework-for-eco-industrial-parks/ 

Examining the Pandemic’s Impact On The Irrigation And Drainage Sector And Opportunities For Recovery
22 Jun, 2020

Every industry, sector, and economy has suffered from the devastating effects of COVID-19. The irrigation and drainage (I&D) sector is no exception, as the pandemic continues to have complex and far-reaching impacts across the water-energy-ecosystem-food nexus. As an enabler of hundreds of millions of agricultural jobs in rural areas, the sector enables the world’s critical production systems, livelihoods for the majority of the world’s poor, and holds the keys to shift to greener recovery. 

Irrigation agencies around the world have continued to function despite challenging circumstances. However, there have been multiple shocks impacting service delivery, such as fiscal constraints, interruption of supply chains due to travel restrictions, and lack of availability of labor.

And while global food stocks and prices are currently stable, there are serious concerns over maintaining profitable agricultural production and distribution systems in terms of inputs and services provided.  The focus going forward will need to maintain a focus on food security, production, employment, and climate resilience -- areas that are all underpinned by irrigated agriculture.

Source: https://blogs.worldbank.org/water/examining-pandemics-impact-irrigation-and-drainage-sector-and-opportunities-recovery 

Urban Land Could Increase Sixfold by 2100
22 Jun, 2020

Humans have been flocking to cities for centuries. Two hundred years ago, just 2% of the global population lived in urban areas; today, more than half the population does.

Experts expect this trend to hold throughout the 21st century. Although urban areas cover only a small fraction of habitable land, a novel urbanization model suggests that fraction could increase sixfold by 2100, which could have serious consequences for the health of the planet. Cities produce roughly three quarters of the world’s carbon emissions. But just because urbanization has been linked to climbing emissions in the past doesn’t mean it needs to be going forward, experts say.

Source: https://eos.org/articles/urban-land-could-increase-sixfold-by-2100 

Building Back Better in Albania: UNECE Supports Housing Sector Reforms And Urban ‎Resilience
21 Jun, 2020

Albania has made considerable progress in the recent years in the provision of affordable adequate housing to all. Notably, the national government has been providing support to municipal programmes for housing construction; supporting investments into construction of affordable housing, including through public-private partners; and legalizing informal settlements to improve the living conditions of the population.

However, multiple challenges remain due to the lack of available public funds for housing construction and insufficient capacity of some of the municipalities to implement housing programmes. Moreover, natural disasters created new economic and financial challenges: the earthquake in Albania in November 2019 left 14,000 people or 2 per cent of the Albanian population homeless. Another earthquake struck Albania in January 2020, which brought  damage to both public and private properties  amounting to EUR 844 million. The cost of their reconstruction is estimated at EUR 1.07 billion:  about EUR 800 million is needed to rebuild homes while the remaining amount is for repair of damaged infrastructure, such as schools and health centres.

Source:

https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/06/21/building-back-better-in-albania-unece-supports-housing-sector-reforms-and-urban-%E2%80%8Eresilience-%E2%80%8E/ 

Green Building Advocates ‘Underwhelmed’ By EU Recovery Plan
19 Jun, 2020

When the European Commission unveiled its proposed €750 billion recovery fund two weeks ago, green activists were expecting a detailed spending programme, with billions of euros allocated to clean mobility, renewables, and an upcoming EU-wide building renovation wave.

What they got in the end was an elaborate plan to borrow hundreds of billions of euros on financial markets that would later be redistributed to hard-hit regions in the form of loans and grants.

To be sure, the recovery plan sent plenty of signals to ecologists. First, the EU executive promised that 25% of the money would be spent on climate-friendly technologies. And a “do no harm” principle applying across the entire EU budget means the most polluting fossil fuel projects should in principle be excluded from receiving EU recovery money.

Source: https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/green-building-advocates-underwhelmed-by-eu-recovery-plan/

Green Finance: Parliament Adopts Criteria For Sustainable Investments
18 Jun, 2020

Establishing clear European “green” criteria for investors is key to raising more public and private funding so that the EU can become carbon neutral by 2050 as set out in the European Green Deal as well as to prevent ‘greenwashing’.

The Commission estimates that Europe needs around €260 billion per year in extra investment to achieve its 2030 climate and energy targets. In a resolution (15.05.2020), MEPs also called for investments under the COVID-19 recovery plan to be prioritised as part of the Green Deal.

 “The taxonomy for sustainable investment is probably the most important development for finance since accounting. It will be a game changer in the fight against climate change”, said lead negotiator for the Environment Committee, Sirpa Pietikainen (EPP, FI). “Greening the financial sector is a first step towards making investments serve the transition to a carbon-neutral economy”, she added.

Source:

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20200615IPR81229/green-finance-parliament-adopts-criteria-for-sustainable-investments 

The Country Building A ‘New London’ Every Year
12 Jun, 2020

In the north of Beijing, not far from the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium, a four-storey orange building hums quietly. It doesn’t look too different from the other buildings on the campus of China Academy of Building Research, or from the millions that rise up every year in China. Yet, it is running on only one-fifth of the total energy used by similar office buildings in the capital city.

The building is part of a movement to make China’s buildings more sustainable. By some estimates, almost half of the world’s construction will take place in China in the coming decade. The country already builds two billion sq m of new floorspace each year – if laid out over a single storey, that would cover 1.3 times the size of the entire footprint of London. It’s an extraordinary figure, especially when you consider that worldwide, the buildings and construction sector accounts for around 39% of carbon dioxide emissions released from energy use and industry.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200610-how-china-can-cut-co2-emissions-with-sustainable-buildings 

UN: The World Is Producing And Consuming More Seafood, But Overfishing Remains Rife
09 Jun, 2020

Global seafood production reached a level of 179 million metric tons (MT) in 2018, with all but 23 million MT going to human consumption. Consequently, average consumption has crept up to 20.5 kilograms per capita, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimated in the 2020 edition of its biennial publication, “The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture,” released on 8 June.

In the SOFIA report, the U.N. body states that with a yearly growth rate of 3.1 percent, fish consumption has been outpacing both the world population expansion rate of 1.6 percent since 1961 and the 1.1 percent meat consumption rise.

Source: https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/supply-trade/un-the-world-is-producing-and-consuming-more-seafood-but-overfishing-remains-rife 

“Construction Fever” Responsible For One Fifth Of China’s CO2 Emissions
09 Jun, 2020

The world’s largest emitter has seen building rates soar as existing structures are torn down and replaced with skyscrapers to house the nation’s rapidly urbanising population.

All of this comes with a significant carbon footprint, both to produce the cement, steel and other materials required and from the emissions produced once the project is underway.

The researchers behind the new study, published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, say this has not received enough attention in China, despite being an “unignorable and critical” component of the nation’s emissions.

Source: https://www.carbonbrief.org/construction-fever-responsible-for-one-fifth-of-chinas-co2-emissions 

COVID-19 Impact on Global Smart Water Network Market 2020
08 Jun, 2020

This report studies the Smart Water Network market status and outlook of Global and major regions, from angles of players, countries, product types and end industries; this report analyzes the top players in global market, and splits the Smart Water Network market by product type and applications/end industries.

The smart meter segment accounted for the major shares of this market. The smart meter provides increased assistance in water utilities and manages their water networks more appropriately. The vendors in the market are using latest technologies such as automatic meter reading or advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) which will record water consumption pattern and will generate accurate bill accordingly.

Source: https://coleofduty.com/military-news/2020/06/08/covid-19-impact-on-global-smart-water-network-market-2020-industry-size-share-trends-swot-analysis-by-top-key-players-demand-and-forecast-report-to-2025/ 

Water Security Among Six "Global Systemic Risks" For Investors
06 Jun, 2020

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has identified water security among six “global systemic risks” in a white paper which outlines a governance framework to enable the investment community to address the annual investment gap of $6.26 Trillion USD required to mitigate these risks. The other systemic risks are climate change, population growth, geopolitical uncertainty, negative interest rates and technology disruption.

“Transformational Investment: Converting Global Systemic Risks into Sustainable Returns”, released in May, provides new insights to ensure that the long-term impact of non-traditional risks and opportunities can be better understood.

Source: https://www.ooskanews.com/story/2020/06/water-security-among-six-global-systemic-risks-investors_179709 

European Investment Bank Will Invest 11 Million Euros To Improve Wastewater Management In Kosovo
03 Jun, 2020

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will invest €11 million to improve wastewater management and provide affordable access to water and wastewater services for more than 90 000 people in the municipality of Gjilan/Gnjilane in Kosovo. Investment from the EU bank will enable construction of a wastewater treatment plant and related sewerage network, and the revitalisation of key infrastructure in the environmental protection sector.

The investment will reduce the pollution of local water, including the risk of trans-border water contamination. New sanitary infrastructure will also improve the quality and efficiency of public health and increase municipal resilience to natural disasters such as COVID-19. The investment comes under the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative, which aims to improve vital infrastructure in the Western Balkans and foster social and economic progress in the region. Supporting critical environmental infrastructure is a key part of the EU and EIB strategy for the Western Balkans.

Source: https://www.sarajevotimes.com/european-investment-bank-will-invest-11-million-euros-to-improve-wastewater-management-in-kosovo/ 

European Inland Waterways Vessel Market to Surpass Usd 100 Billion Benchmark by 2024, Harmonized Regulatory Framework to Stimulate the Business Growth
01 Jun, 2020

Europe inland waterways vessel market stands to gain exceptional prominence in the coming years. Inland waterways transport, on European corridors, has always been a competitive alternative to road and rail transport, ensuring a more sustainable environment friendly mode in terms of harmful gas emission, energy consumption, and noise. For the record, more than 37000 kms of inland waterways in the continent connect hundreds of industrial belts and cities, particularly in Western Europe. Furthermore, estimates claim, almost 21 out of 28 Member States of European Union have inland waterways with interconnected waterways networks in 13 states. The extensive share of inland waterways transport facilities in the continent is aptly depicting the growth potential for inland waterways vessel market in Europe.

Source: https://3wnews.org/uncategorised/1110684/european-inland-waterways-vessel-market-to-surpass-usd-100-billion-benchmark-by-2024-harmonized-regulatory-framework-to-stimulate-the-business-growth/ 

Impact of Covid-19 on the Clean Energy Sector
25 May, 2020

The clean energy sector is another economic casualty to the COVID-19 pandemic. Clean energy-related manufacturing plants were closed due to the virus outbreak, and companies began furloughing and firing workers. 

The clean energy sector lost 106,400 jobs in March, representing a three percent drop in employment, and nearly erasing the industry’s growth for the year, according to an analysis by BW Research. The situation will likely worsen. The analysis projects that the clean energy sector will lose over half a million jobs, or 15 percent of its total workforce if nothing is done to help the industry.

Source: https://earthmaven.io/planetwatch/energy-economics/impact-of-covid-19-on-the-clean-energy-sector-8KzQt5H-I0WYbPQcFa4icw 

The Planet Has A Problem With Buildings: Here's How Smart Ideas, Tech And Design Can Change That
22 May, 2020

Whether it's a creaky old house or a brand new, state of the art office block, the buildings we live and work in have a big impact on the environment.

The challenge to reduce this footprint is sizable. According to a recent report from the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, International Energy Agency and the UN Environment Programme, building construction and operations were, globally, responsible for 36% of final energy use in 2018. 

Published in December 2019, the Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction also stated that, worldwide, the sector accounted for 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2018.  

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/22/we-have-a-problem-with-buildings-ideas-and-tech-can-change-things.html 

How Will The Pandemic Change Green Finance?
20 May, 2020

Green financing in Latin America will advance even after the COVID-19 pandemic, but the shape of those advances and how they will mitigate the effects of climate change will depend on how economies recover.

“Climate risks depend on a long-term trajectory. What will determine how the financial risk linked to climate change evolves will be how countries decide to exit the economic crisis; if they choose to invest in activities supporting a transition to a low-carbon economy or not,” Elizabeth Aceituno, the WWF’s finance specialist told BNamericas during a webinar hosted by the organization.

Meanwhile, Carolina López, representative in Chile for the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative, said the region has made important advances in recent years in creating green finance mechanisms.

Source:

https://www.bnamericas.com/en/analysis/how-will-the-pandemic-change-green-finance 

Urbanization in the Age of Pandemic title
20 May, 2020

Late last year, what is thought to be a bat-associated coronavirus infected humans in Wuhan, a city of 11 million in China, possibly after a stopover in illegally traded pangolins—setting off a global pandemic. This kind of thing has happened before—with AIDS, SARS, and MERS, for example. Much remains unknown about the biology of COVID-19, which is alarmingly communicable by people with few or no symptoms. But an epidemic is only part biology. It is also driven by cultural factors, and urbanization is a crucial aspect. As sites of large gatherings and dense living conditions, cities offer the perfect settings for the spread of infection, yet their role seems to have often gone unremarked in discussions of the pandemic.

Source: https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2020/05/urbanization-age-pandemic/ 

China's Clean Energy Sector Posts Steady Growth In Q1
19 May, 2020

China's renewable energy sector reported steady growth in the first quarter (Q1) of this year, according to the National Energy Administration (NEA).

In the January-March period, China's installed capacity of renewable energy grew 8.4 percent year on year to 802 million kilowatts, data from the NEA showed.

Electricity output from renewable energy hit 392.34 billion kWh in Q1, 3.84 billion kWh more than that of the same period last year.

The supply of major energy sources is currently stable amid the resumption of production in the energy industry, with crude oil and natural gas output in Q1 up 2.4 percent and 9.1 percent year on year, respectively.

Source: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-05/19/c_139069409.htm 

Indonesian Miners Eyeing EV Nickel Boom Seek To Dump Waste Into The Sea
18 May, 2020

As Indonesia ramps up its mining sector to feed the world’s hunger for zero-emission vehicles, it is faced with a problem: what to do with all the waste.

Now, companies building the nation’s first factories to produce the elements that power electric vehicles are seeking permission to dump billions of tons of potentially toxic waste into the waters of the Coral Triangle, home to the highest diversity of corals and reef fishes anywhere on the planet.

In January, two companies presented plans to use the method, known as deep-sea tailings disposal, or DSTD, to Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs, according to presentation documents seen by Mongabay.

Source: https://news.mongabay.com/2020/05/indonesian-miners-eyeing-ev-nickel-boom-seek-to-dump-waste-into-the-sea/ 

The Post-COVID-19 World Could Be Less Global And Less Urban
18 May, 2020

For the past four decades, globalization and urbanization have been two of the world’s most powerful drivers. Global trade increased from under 40% of the world’s GDP in 1980 to over 60% today. Over the same period, the number of people living in cities more than doubled to over 4 billion people today — more than half the world’s population.

COVID-19 will reverse both of these trends, increasing the distance both between countries and among people. Some will laud these changes for increasing safety and resilience. But a world that is less global and less urban would also be less prosperous, less stable and less fulfilling.

Source: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/05/coronavirus-covid19-urbanization-globalization-change/ 

City CEOs Call For Public Transport To Be Part Of European Recovery Plan
13 May, 2020

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the local public transport sector has been hit hard and is now fighting to survive in many cases. In a bid to provide some solace, UITP Europe has brought together more than 80 CEOs and city representatives in an Open Letter to call upon the European institutions to include the urban public transport sector in the EU’s recovery plan.

In order to limit the consequences of the crisis on the public transport sector, exceptional targeted measures will need to be adopted at EU level and rapidly deployed, according to UITP, which stated that “public transport is, and will be, a key sector for both the economic recovery and the achievement of the Green Deal objectives.”

Source:

https://www.intelligenttransport.com/transport-news/98876/city-ceos-call-for-public-transport-to-be-part-of-european-recovery-plan/ 

China Promulgates Amendment to Its Solid Waste Law
07 May, 2020

On April 29, 2020, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (“NPC”) approved an amendment to the country’s solid waste statute. The revised solid waste law will take effect on September 1, 2020. The amendment introduces substantial changes, some of which are likely to have significant impacts on enterprises with operations in China. For example, the revision provides a new exclusion from the definition of “waste”; creates a series of new obligations on waste generators; sets out a solid legal basis for bans on waste imports and single-use plastics; increases monetary penalties for noncompliance; and adds other types of penalties for violations.

The revised Solid Waste Law updates the legal framework for the prevention and control of pollution from solid waste and consolidates recent Chinese policies on solid waste imports, plastics, EPR, etc. In the next few months, we expect to see the development of implementing regulations/measures to provide practical guidance to companies for compliance with the new requirements of the Law.

Source: https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=a18b1ef0-4f88-4ce3-94a8-13ff9a731784 

EU Building ‘Renovation Wave’ Set For Launch in September
07 May, 2020

The European Commission’s energy chief, Kadri Simson, has flagged the upcoming building renovation wave, rooftop solar, and offshore wind as key priorities for the energy sector in the recovery phase from the coronavirus crisis.

How Europe responds to the recession caused by the coronavirus “in the next few months will come to define the next few years, and even decades,” Simson told participants at an online debate on Tuesday (5 May).

The EU economy will shrink by 7.4% this year, according to the European Commission, which published its spring economic forecasts the day after. And the pace of the recovery will be uneven across the 27 EU countries, the EU executive warned, saying the return to growth will be conditioned by the speed at which lockdown measures can be safely lifted.

Source: https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/eu-building-renovation-wave-set-for-launch-in-september/ 

Emission Thresholds In EU Green Finance Taxonomy Are Too High. Here’s Why
06 May, 2020

The taxonomy for sustainable investments is a classification system intended for determining what economic activities should be considered in line with sustainable development principles. It is based on six objectives: climate mitigation, climate adaption, protection of water and marine resources, circular economy, pollution, and biodiversity. To be classified as sustainable, an activity must substantially contribute to achieving at least one of the objectives, while not doing any significant harm in achieving the others. There is also a requirement of exceeding a minimum level concerning corporate social responsibility.

The commission gathered a technical expert group and tasked it with defining limits for when different activities should be considered contributing substantially, and when they should be considered as doing significant harm. These limits are referred to as screening criteria. They cover a range of activities from agriculture through energy production to transport. The expert group has presented a proposal which is generally thorough and solid. However, the suggested emission limits for the main source of carbon dioxide, the energy sector, are surprising.

Source: https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/opinion/emission-thresholds-in-eu-green-finance-taxonomy-are-too-high-heres-why/ 

Evidence Abounds Of Renewable Energy Gains At The Expense Of Fossil Fuels As The Clamor For A Green Recovery Rises
06 May, 2020

English consultancy Cornwall Insights today produced more evidence renewable energy sources are carrying the Covid-19 lockdown electricity mix, with gas and coal generation relegated to load peaking services.

The analyst calculated falls in power demand and in the carbon intensity of electricity generated in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. from March 23, when the U.K. lockdown started, until April 20. Year-on-year falls in average demand ranged from 11.5% in Germany to 17.2% in the U.K. and carbon intensity reductions varied from 15.9% in Italy to 35.9% in Germany.

“Many system operators are now proving able to manage grids at 70% or more renewable energy and with a much lower level of demand than would, even a few months ago, have been expected,” said Tom Andrews, senior analyst at Cornwall Insight. “The generation balance is likely to return to normal as countries come off lockdown. However, this has demonstrated that managing a grid with high renewable penetration is feasible. This may become the new normal as more renewable generation is deployed across Europe.”

Source: https://www.pv-magazine.com/2020/05/06/covid-19-weekly-briefing-evidence-abounds-of-renewable-energy-gains-at-the-expense-of-fossil-fuels-as-the-clamor-for-a-green-recovery-rises/ 

Building Back Better With A Green Mobility Wave
06 May, 2020

After weeks of sheltering in place, many of us will emerge from our homes to be together but at a distance, with some of us being called back to work and to school. After months of “commuting” via video conference, shopping online and even visiting family and friends via the internet, this means we are going to start moving again, and for most Canadians that means we are going to start driving again. 

When the pandemic hit, Canadians were spending over 200 hours per year in their cars, driving a total of more than 300 billion kilometres a year – 2,000 times the distance from the earth to the sun. The cost of owning and maintaining private automobiles comprises a larger share of household spending than food, clothing or any other household expense except shelter, even without including the share of taxes that goes to building and maintaining the transportation infrastructure. Yet cars are parked 95% of the time and are increasingly slowed down by traffic congestion during the 5% of the time they are actually being used.

Source: https://www.corporateknights.com/channels/transportation/white-paper-building-back-better-green-mobility-wave-15887635/ 

Why Green Building Is Just Good Business Sense
02 May, 2020

Green buildings are great for the environment, but there are also economic and health incentives for construction businesses and developers that invest in it.

Client demand is one of the top triggers driving green building activity in North America, even more so than environmental regulations. Those who own these properties tend to attract better tenants, secure longer leases and experience fewer vacancies. They also enhance their public image by promoting eco-friendly initiatives.

The demand for green buildings stems from their value, too. There has been steady growth since 2012 in the number of owners who see a 10 percent or greater increase in asset value for new green buildings. Investors who buy now and sell later will likely secure a substantial profit.

Source: https://emagazine.com/green-building-makes-sense/ 

EU's COVID Recovery Spending Should Be Guided By Green Finance Plan: Experts
27 Apr, 2020

Planned European Union rules requiring investments to be in line with climate policy should be used to guide economic recovery measures after the coronavirus pandemic, despite not yet being law, the bloc’s expert advisers said on Monday.

With the bloc headed for a steep recession and its executive, the European Commission, drawing up a trillion-euro recovery plan, calls are growing from politicians, companies and campaigners to make sure the money does not prop up environmentally damaging industries. 

The Commission had planned to introduce rules on which investments can be called “green” from 2021, forcing providers of financial products to disclose which investments meet the criteria - known as the EU “sustainable finance taxonomy”.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-eu-recovery-green/eus-covid-recovery-spending-should-be-guided-by-green-finance-plan-experts-idUSKCN2280SX 

Germany Bets On Green Hydrogen In Quest For Climate Neutrality
27 Apr, 2020

In the fight against climate change, hydrogen made with renewable electricity is increasingly seen as a silver bullet for sectors with particularly stubborn emissions, such as heavy industry and aviation. As a result, the emission-free gas has become a big energy-policy talking point in a growing number of countries. As one of the key drivers behind a pan-European effort, Germany has set out to become a global leader in "tomorrow's oil" by beating Asian countries – not only to launch the next stages of its landmark energy transition, but also to secure a promising growth market for its internationally reputed industry. The country will flesh out its ambitions in a highly anticipated National Hydrogen Strategy expected in the coming weeks, which might become part of a "green stimulus" programme to restart the economy after the coronavirus crisis.

Source: https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/germany-bets-green-hydrogen-quest-climate-neutrality 

Threat Of Climate Change Outpaces The Shift To Green Finance
24 Apr, 2020

The destruction caused by natural disasters, which is becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change, is graphic and frightening. However, there is a significant impact on the financial system as well when insured losses increase in the aftermath of such events. Additionally, there is a risk of stranded assets when countries transition to low-carbon alternatives. Yet, the financial sector does little to reduce such risks from climate change by not investing enough in risk mitigation or building climate resilience.

The financial sector can be a partner in fighting climate change, but so far that is not the case in Asia-Pacific. In 2019, ESCAP estimated that the region needs to invest an additional $1.5 trillion annually to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, requiring financial contributions from the private sector, to build resiliency in infrastructure, energy needs and social safety nets. The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2020 further points out that instead of increasing, the market share of renewable energy declined from 17 per cent in 1990 to 12 per cent in 2017. This is despite a growing interest by investors in seeking sustainable investments.

Source: https://www.unescap.org/blog/threat-climate-change-outpaces-shift-green-finance 

How Pandemic Opens Doors To Green Transport Industry
24 Apr, 2020

While the European Commission is committed to the Green Deal and making it a core of the pandemic economic recovery, the EU's rescue plan and updated long-term budget will be key to tackling the current and future climate challenges.

Polluting industries, such as the transport sector, are pushing for unconditional state aid while postponing climate policy action due to financial losses and reduced sales due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, environmental activists stress that the Covid-19 crisis could actually help support the transformation of the EU's transport system, making it more resilient, sustainable and flexible.

Currently the transport sector accounts for 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions plus playing a major part in air pollution. Ahead of the new 'sustainable and smart mobility strategy', which is expected for the third quarter of 2020, the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) are calling on the upcoming German presidency to boost railways and public transport.

Source: https://euobserver.com/green-deal/148162 

Don’t Water Down The Rules
22 Apr, 2020

Why Europe’s rules on protecting our water are working – and why we should stick with them.

There has never been a greater need for us to protect and restore our freshwater resources in Europe. We need freshwater to survive. Yet 60% of the EU’s rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands are not healthy enough to support people and nature.

Only last summer, the drought we experienced in Europe reminded us how vulnerable our ecosystems, food systems and economies are to climate change and how this affects our water resources.

If we look at just those living along the Rhine, for example, more than 10 million Europeans live in areas at risk of extreme flooding.  With the potential damage from floods in this region alone estimated to be around 165 billion Euros.

Source: https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/opinion/dont-water-down-the-rules/ 

Building Urban Resilience In The Face Of COVID-19
22 Apr, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the UNECE region, local governments are on the front lines of addressing this unprecedented pandemic. With the ambition to amplify local solutions, UNECE will bring together mayors from Europe, North America, Central Asia and the Caucasus to strengthen the resilience of cities to emergencies, including to COVID-19. With some 75% of the population living in cities, the UNECE region is among the most highly urbanized in the world, turning resilient cities into key drivers for sustainable development in the region.

The Forum of Mayors will be held on 6 October 2020 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, with possibilities for online participation. While local responses to the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the immediate focus in many cities, the Forum will also give space to discuss long-term resilience strategies in cities, including actions mitigating the effects of climate change and natural hazards.

Source: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/04/22/building-urban-resilience-in-the-face-of-covid-19/ 

China To Enhance Renovation Of Old Communities
16 Apr, 2020

The target of this year's old communities’ renovation was clarified at the State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on April 14.

According to those at the meeting, the government will enhance the renovation of old communities to improve people's livelihoods and expand domestic demand. The move will improve people's living conditions, expand domestic demand and boost consumption, Premier Li said at the meeting. Since 2019, Premier Li has inspected multiple times the renovation of old residential communities in urban areas during his inspection tours.

In an old residential community in a western province, local residents told the Premier that they were willing to spend some money on the renovation of the old residential area subsidized by the government. And another old community in the eastern part of China has introduced social forces in renovation, bringing day care, housekeeping, and healthcare services to the community, which is widely welcomed by residents.

Source:

http://english.www.gov.cn/premier/news/202004/16/content_WS5e97a0f1c6d0c201c2cc1007.html 

Coronavirus Puts Medical, Infectious Waste In Security Spotlight
15 Apr, 2020

The pandemic will change much of the world even if we exclude the heavy blow it inflicted on the economy. It is time for a new approach to various segments of life. The coronavirus and future crises warrant much more careful handling of medical and infectious waste. The latest information shows Serbia and other countries in the region have a long way ahead in improving the system for the people’s safety as well as environmental protection.

The amount of medical waste has tripled since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, claims Bojan Sudarev, who manages the Serbian subsidiary of Remondis Medison from Germany. The company is the only one in the private sector in the Balkan country to burn medical waste, while 90% is incinerated within some of the healthcare facilities.

Source: https://balkangreenenergynews.com/coronavirus-puts-medical-infectious-waste-in-security-spotlight/ 

Demand and Supply, Major Challenges To Save Water
13 Apr, 2020

The spread of Novel Coronavirus is dangerous as the death toll is continuously rising day by day. People should also remember that planet earth has struggled recently with a number of disasters including bushfires of Australia, heat waves in India, typhoons in Japan and floods in China and India, which also took a heavy toll on lives and caused a huge economic and social disruption.

The strategy for mitigating the effects of natural calamity and restore water is required on war-footing. Annual precipitation estimated to be of the order of 4,000 bcm (billion cubic metre) is the main source of freshwater in the country and 1,869 bcm which occurs as natural run off into the rivers. Due to various constraints of topography, it is estimated that around 1,122 bcm of total potential available - 2,131 bcm - can be put to use, of which surface and groundwater consumption is 690 bcm and 432 bcm, respectively. Around 1,009 bcm is a huge loss which is untapped for consumption.

Source: https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/panorama/demand-and-supply-major-challenges-to-save-water-824666.html 

Construction Sector Calls on The EU to Delay Regulation on Engines’ Emission Limits Due To COVID-19 - But Climate Action Can’t Wait
04 Apr, 2020

Six industry associations representing the non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) sector called on the EU to postpone the deadlines for emission limits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their request should be considered carefully, as a delay in the implementation of the NRMM regulation may pose a risk to climate targets.

CECE, CEMA, EGMF, EUnited Municipal Equipment & Cleaning, Europgen and FEM sent a joint letter to the European Commission asking for a moratorium on the application of 2020 and 2021 deadlines.

According to the European regulation, machine manufacturers have until June 30 this year to complete the production of engines in power ranges <56kW and ≥130kW complying with the emissions’ limits. Then, they’ll have until December 31 to place these machines on the EU market. Similarly, machines in power ranges from 56kW to 130kW will need to be ready in summer 2021.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/emanuelabarbiroglio/2020/04/04/construction-sector-calls-on-the-eu-to-delay-regulation-on-engines-emission-limits-due-to-covid-19but-climate-action-cant-wait/#6b4fd8e32a9e 

When 'Green' Financing Turns Sustainable
03 Apr, 2020

The urgency to address climate change has caused investors to put sustainability and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices at the heart of their business strategy.

Both regulators and government authorities have also began introducing a series of nation-wide sustainability initiatives aimed at reversing the consequences of climate change and have called on institutions to champion these agendas. This increased support has helped to drive a paradigm shift from “green” to “sustainable” to encompass an entirely sustainable agenda.

We are now seeing considerable efforts towards gauging investors’ and institutions’ interest in pursuing sustainable practices and introducing comprehensive sustainable agendas. One method of ensuring that financing activities reflect the full range of sustainable activities is by combining the underlying principles of doing less harm and striving to do better.

Source: https://gulfnews.com/business/analysis/when-green-financing-turns-sustainable-1.70763779

“No Time for Requirements”: Aviation Industry Lobbying Against Green Strings in Coronavirus Bailouts 
03 Apr, 2020

Aviation has been one of the sectors worst hit by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. With revenues expected to drop by 44 percent this year, many airlines will go bankrupt without government aid, airline trade body the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned.

Across the world, the industry is now asking for huge sums of government money to help it get through. IATA says $200 billion is needed globally. Many consider bailouts of some kind are essential to support those working in the airline industry and avoid throwing them into economic insecurity. But some, frustrated that the aviation industry has delayed serious climate action for decades, have argued that any government aid should include obligations for airlines to clean up their act post-crisis.

Source: https://www.desmogblog.com/2020/04/03/no-time-requirements-aviation-industry-lobbying-against-coronavirus-bailout-green-strings 

How Can We Balance Urbanisation with Protecting the Environment and Quality of Life?
30 Mar, 2020

By 2050 around 80% of the world's population will be living in urban areas. Currently, they occupy 3% of the Earth's surface but produce around 72% of greenhouse gases. Growing urbanization along with climate change will have a serious impact on our life in cities in terms of air quality, warmer temperatures and higher flood risk.

But solutions to reducing the environmental impact and improving people's quality of life has been found in nature. Scientists working at the European project URBAN Green-Up in Valladolid, Spain are testing Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) that could allow sustainable urban development.

Source: https://www.euronews.com/2020/03/30/how-to-harmonise-urban-growth-with-quality-of-life-and-protecting-the-environment 

China: Developing Green Finance in Agriculture
28 Mar, 2020

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a loan of Euro 267.2 million (US$300 million equivalent) for China to foster green agriculture investments, development of standards, and technological innovation in Henan Province.

China’s agricultural sector accounts for about 14 percent of global agriculture-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is a major source of two highly potent GHGs: methane and nitrous oxide. The level of green financing in China is low due to a general reluctance of financial sector institutions to finance agriculture investments, which are perceived to be of high risk and relatively low return. Lack of clear green finance standards has also been an obstacle to developing the market and attracting investments.

Source: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/03/28/china-developing-green-finance-in-agriculture/ 

International Solid Waste Association Statement on Coronavirus Situation Globally
27 Mar, 2020

Regular waste collection services are a key-element for the quality of our urban lives. We understand how important they are only when we miss them.

During the coronavirus crisis, our first target should be to ensure that waste collection will be continuously delivered all around our cities, without any disruption and without any discrimination based on income, religion, race or nationality.

To achieve that, waste collection workers should be protected, as they are one of the most vulnerable parts of the population since they are already exposed in several health risks, including infections. Waste collection workers is the second most important human shield to coronavirus, after the health workers.

Source: https://waste-management-world.com/a/international-solid-waste-association-statement-on-coronavirus-situation-globally 

China’s Coronavirus Lockdown Crushed Every Form of Energy Generation Except Solar
24 Mar, 2020

As China shuttered industries during its coronavirus lockdown in January and February, every form of energy production dropped from prior-year performance but one. Solar was up 12 percent. “In terms of varieties, thermal power and hydropower declined significantly, nuclear power and wind power declined slightly,” reported China’s National Bureau of Statistics, “and solar power generation grew steadily.”

The Bureau neither explained nor speculated why, but at least one analyst had predicted it:“On the power supply side, we believe baseload generation resources such as coal, nuclear, and gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) will be weaker than expected—with coal plants impacted the most in operation hours,” wrote Xizhou Zhou, vice president for global power and renewables at IHS Markit, in a Feb. 19 assessment of the impact of the lockdown.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2020/03/24/chinas-covid-19-lockdown-crushed-every-other-form-of-energy-generation-but-solar-grew/#6a4687772370 

EU bank lends €250m for green homes in Paris
24 Mar, 2020

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a new €250 million (£230m) loan to in’li, the Action Logement Group’s subsidiary, to accelerate the construction of 2,580 affordable energy efficient new homes in Île-de-France.

It says the project aims to address the needs of middle-income households and will see around 6,000 residents benefit from these homes – they will meet the strictest environmental criteria and construction is expected to generate 5,000 person-years of employment during the implementation phase.

Ambroise Fayolle, EIB Vice-President, said: “In this context, supporting the housing and construction market in Île-de-France via this loan to in’li addresses three priorities: improving the job situation, reducing the energy consumption of homes and providing SMEs in the building sector, in particular, with enough business to facilitate their recovery.”

Source: https://www.energylivenews.com/2020/03/24/eu-bank-lends-e250m-for-green-homes-in-paris/ 

Unlocking the Hidden Potential of Wastewater
23 Mar, 2020

In the near future, we will need to improve the way we adapt our water management to accommodate the climate changes we face. It all comes down to how we use the water resources; whether it is the abstraction of water, water as a basis for natural and human activities or as a recipient to treated wastewater. The water sector, which is based on an ageing infrastructure in the EU, should of course also contribute to the Paris Climate Agreement through efficient processes and be combined with the extended extraction of energy resources that waste water can provide.

The wastewater sector has huge potential to help reduce CO2 emissions. In my home country, Denmark, several wastewater treatment plants, for example the ‘Kalundborg Utility’ and - as cited in the World Energy Outlook 2016 - ‘Marselisborg Wastewater Treatment Plant’, are now operating in a climate-neutral manner. In fact, they are energy producing while also being highly efficient in traditional water treatment. For these very reasons, it is essential to have a critical review of the legal framework; starting with the current Urban Wastewater Directive which dates from 1991.

Source: https://www.theparliamentmagazine.eu/articles/opinion/unlocking-hidden-potential-waste-water 

Plastics Recycling Sector Reacts to Coronavirus Pandemic
18 Mar, 2020

The global escalation of COVID-19 is leading reclaimers to enact new safety regulations, while on a wider scale it impacts some collection programs, reduces Asian scrap plastics demand, constrains global shipping, dents stock prices and threatens an economic recession.

The coronavirus, which last week was deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), has grown steadily in scale since the first outbreak in China late last year. It is now in 159 countries, areas and territories. As of Wednesday, March 18, there have been more than 193,000 confirmed novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases globally and more than 7,800 deaths, according to WHO.

Source: https://resource-recycling.com/plastics/2020/03/18/plastics-recycling-sector-reacts-to-coronavirus-pandemic/ 

Coronavirus Dampens 2020 Outlook for Clean Energy and Electric Vehicles
17 Mar, 2020

The coronavirus crisis gripping the global economy has forced clean energy analyst BloombergNEF (BNEF) to downgrade its expectations for the solar, battery and electric vehicle (EV) markets, in one of the first signals that the escalating pandemic could undermine urgent efforts to combat climate change.

The influential analyst firm released fresh projections looking at the likely effects of COVID-19, officially declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization last week, on markets for renewable electricity, EVs, heating, cooling and the circular economy.

With the impacts of the virus worsening around the world and governments deploying increasingly desperate measures to curb its advance, the analyst said it had cut its forecast for global solar demand in 2020 by 16 percent, noting that the sector is heavily reliant on demand in China where strict limits on movement and commercial activity are being put in place to try to halt the virus spreading further.

Source: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/coronavirus-dampens-2020-outlook-clean-energy-and-electric-vehicles 

Changes in Building and Construction Have Great Potential to Slow Global Warming
15 Mar, 2020

Most of us spend a large chunk of our lives in one building or another, but have you ever stopped to consider the greenhouse gases linked to the construction of these buildings?

One way to reduce greenhouse gases is the use of recycled and more environmentally friendly building materials.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) International Resource Panel has just published a recent report titled Resource Efficiency and Climate Change: Material Efficiency Strategies for a Low-Carbon Future. Commissioned by the G7 countries, it shows that natural resource extraction and processing account for more than 90 per cent of global biodiversity loss and water stress, and around half of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The findings point to opportunities to reduce these impacts through material efficiencies in homes and cars.

Source: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/03/15/changes-in-building-and-construction-have-great-potential-to-slow-global-warming/ 

EU Experts Recommend Two-Tier Approach To ‘Green’ Investment Rules 
10 Mar, 2020

European policymakers should use a two-tier approach to define sustainable investments in order to smooth the bloc’s transition to a low carbon economy, a group of industry experts has said. The first category proposed by the group on Monday (9 March) would meet strict ‘green’ criteria, with the second including investments that can prove they “do no significant harm”.

The European Commission will use the Technical Expert Group’s (TEG) recommendations to develop rules defining what qualifies as a green investment.

This ‘taxonomy’ is a key plank of the Commission’s “Green Deal” plan to reduce the bloc’s net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, through policy measures touching sectors from agriculture, to trade, taxation, energy and industry. EU financial services chief Valdis Dombrovskis welcomed the TEG’s input, as part of efforts to “spur the take-up of sustainable finance in Europe”.

Source: https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/news/eu-experts-recommend-two-tier-approach-to-green-investment-rules/ 

Brussels to Launch EU Hydrogen Fuel Partnership
10 Mar, 2020

Later today, EU officials are reportedly set to announce the details of a new initiative to develop hydrogen fuel technologies in accordance with plans to see the bloc become carbon neutral by 2050. 

Plans for a “clean hydrogen alliance” are said to be in the works, as well as a new industrial strategy for Europe to follow the precedent set by the launch of the European Battery Alliance last year. The latter was cleared to receive €3.2 billion in public funds. 

The alliance is just one of a series of projects cited in preliminary drafts of the European Commission’s industrial strategy, of which internal market commissioner Thierry Breton sits at the helm. In a Paris interview, Breton described hydrogen as a vital technology for European industry in the years to come.

Source: https://www.european-views.com/2020/03/brussels-to-launch-eu-hydrogen-fuel-partnership/ 

Ljubljana Sewage System Adding Exelys Wastewater Sludge Treatment
10 Mar, 2020

In the biggest cohesion project in Slovenia, international partners have been hired to install an energy efficient solution for the capital city’s water utility. Krüger A/S provided its thermal hydrolysis technology, branded Exelys. The unit will be added to the far end of the Ljubljana sewage system, at the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant, to process sludge.

Veolia Environnement SA, which controls the Danish firm, is assembling the turnkey equipment. The compact system decreases the volume of dry solids by 25% to 35%.

At the same time, biogas output from the anaerobic treatment is 30% to 35% stronger than with conventional gear, engineers said and stressed the process is odor-free.

Source: https://balkangreenenergynews.com/ljubljana-sewage-system-adding-exelys-wastewater-sludge-treatment/ 

EU Taxonomy Shows the Way to Net Zero By 2050
09 Mar, 2020

The EU Taxonomy provides the clearest picture yet for companies and investors of an economy that can fulfil Europe’s 2030 and 2050 climate goals. It will help to grow low carbon sectors and decarbonise high emissions ones.

Transitioning to a climate-neutral economy by 2050 requires clear tools and guidance, reflecting scientific evidence and market experience, to give confidence to companies and investors to act.

The TEG report provides updated sustainability criteria for 70 economic activities—including changes resulting from an open call for feedback in the summer of 2019.

Economic activities such as electricity generation, urban transport, crop-agriculture and cement-manufacturing, if they meet the Taxonomy criteria, can be called “environmentally sustainable” in financial products.

Source: https://www.climate-kic.org/news/eu-taxonomy-shows-the-way-to-net-zero-by-2050/ 

Water Ways: The Dutch Mastered Water for A Millennium. Could Their New Approach Save New Orleans?
09 Mar, 2020

Up close is not the best way to see the world’s biggest gate. Standing alongside it from one end, where a three-story hinge links to a massive steel lattice, the Maeslant storm surge barrier resembles three crane towers toppled across one another. From the opposite end, nearly 280 yards away, it’s an imposing white wall, like a drive-in movie screen stretched the length of 2½ football fields. 

And that’s only half of it. Taking in the view from a small hill — one of the highest points in this low-lying region of South Holland — the same enormous structure is repeated on the other side of a Rhine River shipping channel running from the North Sea to Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port. The two arms of the Maeslant barrier — each the size of the Eiffel Tower — stand ready to swing shut and lock in the middle of the channel when the sea kicks up devastating waves.

Source: https://www.wrkf.org/post/water-ways-dutch-mastered-water-millennium-could-their-new-approach-save-new-orleans 

Red Flags for Green Investing
06 Mar, 2020

When it comes to sustainable finance, we’re still on the frontier of the Wild West. It’s a place of untold potential, romance, chaos and the vast unknown. As the climate crisis unfolds, interest from investors in this fertile ground is reaching fever pitch. Yet the current green rush has the potential to turn into a monumental greenwash unless it’s tamed soon. Luckily help is at hand.

“To be sustainable, we need to define sustainable,” says Adam Matthews, director of engagement at the Church of England Pensions Board, and therein lies the crux of the issue. There are certainly more than 50 shades of green finance, wrapped up in buzzwords, glossy brochures, soft-focus images and claims that a product is ethical. But it can be fool’s gold.

Source: https://www.raconteur.net/sustainability/sustainable-finance-invest 

Making Circularity Work
06 Mar, 2020

Hilke Bos-Brouwers has worked on the recently finalised, EU funded Horizon 2020 REFRESH project, where 26 partners from 12 EU countries and China were working together to support UN SDG 12.3: halving the amount of food waste per person by 2030, across the full supply chain from farm to fork. The complexity lies much deeper than an individual’s purchases and use: to achieve this, the complete supply chain has to consider where product losses and waste occur. Then, opportunities arise how and where value can be created from any residual flows, as well as an increase in the reuse of recyclable materials like packaging.

Source: https://www.hortidaily.com/article/9196589/making-circularity-work/ 

What Singapore Can Learn from Europe's Green Building Journey
06 Mar, 2020

RISING buildings and skyscrapers mark the era of modernisation. However, buildings are responsible for nearly 40 per cent of annual worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. The world cannot reach its ambitious climatic targets if energy use in buildings is not drastically reduced.

While Singapore has a relatively high penetration rate of green buildings at 30 per cent compared to other Asian cities, there is room to catch up with European cities like Paris and London, at 64 per cent and 68 per cent respectively. Europe has been the most competitive region globally for green buildings since the beginning due to its strong political leadership role.

Source: https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/what-singapore-can-learn-from-europes-green-building-journey 

All Transport Needs to Be Decarbonized to Hit EU's Green Deal Target: Consultancy
04 Mar, 2020

The European Commission unveiled Wednesday its legislative proposal to enshrine in law a goal to reduce the EU's greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 -- seen as a major shake-up of Europe's economy by mid-century. 

The law seeks to transform the European economy to become low carbon by 2050, upending years of fossil fuel dependency and ushering in growth in cleaner energy, industry, transport, agriculture and buildings.

Net zero emissions means reducing greenhouse gases to the greatest extent possible and offsetting any remaining emissions through carbon sinks such as forests and other land-use changes.

William Todts, executive director at T&E, said: "Climate neutrality means the transport sector finally needs to begin its journey to a zero emissions future. For cars and trucks, we will need a rapid shift to electric vehicles, powered by renewable electricity."

Source: https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/electric-power/030420-all-transport-needs-to-be-decarbonized-to-hit-eus-green-deal-target-consultancy 

Stakeholders Call For ‘Reality Check’ On EU Road Transport and Energy Policy
03 Mar, 2020

The EU has been trying since the first Renewable Energy Directive in 2009 to come up with a solution for decarbonising the transport sector while the new Green Deal is expected to revisit some pieces of legislation, including transport, which represents almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and is the main cause of air pollution in cities.

According to a European Commission staff working document accompanying the European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility, “oil products would still represent 86-87% of the EU transport sector needs [by 2030] – compared to 94% today – despite the significant reductions achieved in absolute levels”.

A better picture though is expected by 2050, when oil products should represent about 49-51%, but the uptake of alternative fuels and energy carriers takes time, in particular, due to the gradual replacement of vehicle fleets.

Source: https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/stakeholders-call-for-reality-check-on-eu-road-transport-and-energy-policy/ 

Close in Resources, Divided in Ways: Water Quality in Tirana and Podgorica
01 Mar, 2020

Albania’s abundant water resources are in stark contrast to the sparse efforts being made to manage and care for them, be it on an environmental and aesthetic level, or on the purely practical citizen needs that should be met under the assumption that access to clean water in the 21st century is a human right.

Blessed with a 476-kilometer-long shoreline, a coastal area that equals 25 percent of the national territory, a mean annual rivers’ discharge that corresponds to one of the highest specific discharges in Europe, and home to two of the biggest lakes in Southern Europe, one could have guessed that, by now, Albanians would have gotten their way around getting the most out of what nature has offered them. On the contrary, as far back as 2003, in one of the earliest World Bank assessments, the environment was described as severely polluted, water supply as intermittent, water quality as compromised by inadequate treatment, and water losses excessive, surpassing water production by 50 percent in all cities.

Source: https://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=144378 

Belgium, On Its Way Towards A Circular Economy
25 Feb, 2020

Belgium is already on its way to build a more sustainable society through circular economy. The federal government and the three autonomous regions—Brussels-Capital, Wallonia and Flanders—are all aligned in this effort.

“A transition to a low-carbon, climate-neutral and resource-efficient economy requires a holistic approach: it is not achieved by addressing challenges in silos. Science, technology and innovation must be put to work for this transition. Belgium is ready to play its role and to lead by example,” said Marie-Christine Marghem, Minister of Environment, Energy and Sustainable Development in Belgium.

“The circular economy will create economic activity. This is one of the reasons why we, the Brussels government, want to be among the pioneers: we want to show that it is possible!” said Alain Maron, Minister for Climate Transition, and Barbara Trachte, Secretary of State in charge of Economic Transition in a joint statement.

Source: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/belgium-its-way-towards-circular-economy 

New Toolkit to Help Countries Switch to Climate-Smart Urbanization
21 Feb, 2020

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat, and the Commonwealth Secretariat, in collaboration with several United Nations entities, have developed a law and climate change toolkit to promote climate-smart urbanization.

Global heating has been described as the “defining issue of our time”. An effective response to climate change requires deliberate and sustained action from both state and non-state actors that is anchored in nationally determined contributions. Implementing these contributions requires supportive regulatory and institutional frameworks and a regular assessment of their adequacy and effectiveness.

Source: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/02/21/new-toolkit-to-help-countries-switch-to-climate-smart-urbanization/ 

Clean Energy Potential of Coal Regions in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Slovenia: EU Report
14 Feb, 2020

In more than half of the 42 coal regions in the European Union, the switch to clean energy can create more jobs than currently exist in the coal sector, finds the latest report of the European Commission. The study of its Joint Research Centre (JRC) on clean energy technologies in coal regions includes seven regions in the Balkans. Two each are in Bulgaria, Greece and Romania and the remaining one is in Slovenia.

The report follows the adoption of the European Green Deal communication and the announcement of the EU’s Just Transition Mechanism, which aims to support communities most affected by the transition to climate neutrality by 2050, especially in the EU’s coal regions.

The deployment of renewable energy technologies in the coal regions facing coal phaseout can create up to 315,000 jobs by 2030, and up to 460,000 by 2050, the Clean energy technologies in coal regions: Opportunities for jobs and growth report underlines.

Source: https://balkangreenenergynews.com/clean-energy-potential-of-coal-regions-in-bulgaria-greece-romania-slovenia-eu-report/ 

Investing in Public Spaces to Achieve Livable Cities for All
12 Feb, 2020

Many cities around the world are missing out on significant development opportunities by ignoring, under-leveraging, or mismanaging public spaces. There is an enormous opportunity for smarter use of public spaces, to unlock the “hidden” value they create for communities, neighborhoods, and entire cities, according to a new World Bank publication launched today at the World Urban Forum (WUF10). 

The publication, The Hidden Wealth of Cities: Creating, Financing, and Managing Public Spaces, says that well-conceived, people-centered urban public spaces have vast potential to become assets that cities can leverage to transform the quality of urban life and improve city functioning.

“Globally, about one-third of a city’s land area is covered by public spaces–ranging from city streets, neighborhood squares and parks, to public facilities, such as libraries and markets. This is significant,” said Sameh Wahba, World Bank Global Director for Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience, and Land.  “Sustainably planning, financing, and managing public spaces with a focus on people is key to unleashing cities’ potential for building livable, resilient, and competitive cities for all.”

Source: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/02/12/investing-in-public-spaces-to-achieve-livable-cities-for-all/ 

World Urban Forum: Cities Must Be ‘At the Heart’ Of Sustainable Development
09 Feb, 2020

The Forum was officially opened by His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Executive Council, and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, accompanied by the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, in a colourful, high tech ceremony.  

 In his video message, the UN Secretary-General thanked Abu Dhabi for hosting this first ever World Urban Forum in the Arab Region.  

He noted that urbanization is one of the megatrends of our times and steering it well, will help address global challenges such as climate change.   

“As we embark on a Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, the world’s cities, towns and communities will be at the heart of this work”, said the UN chief.  

Source: https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/02/1057021 

China Tackles Its Plastic Problem
29 Jan, 2020

Last week, Beijing unveiled an ambitious plan to reduce the country’s single-use plastics. Non-biodegradable plastic bags will be banned in major cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, by the end of 2020, and across all cities and towns by 2022. Exceptions will be made, however, for markets selling fresh produce. The catering and restaurant industry will be forced to reduce single-use plastics by 30 percent, including a ban on plastic utensils and non-biodegradable straws by the end of 2020. Separately, within five years, the hotel industry must stop offering single-use plastic items and the postal service must end the use of plastic packaging. The crackdown on plastic use and production in China incorporates timelines for various products to be phased out by the middle of the decade, first in major cities, followed by all other cities and towns, as well as rural areas.

Source: https://thediplomat.com/2020/01/china-tackles-its-plastic-problem

Bydgoszcz And Lublin Receive EIB Loans For Climate-Friendly Upgrade Of Heating Distribution Networks
28 Jan, 2020

The European Investment Bank (EIB), in his enhanced role as the EU Climate Bank, is stepping up its support to Polish towns to implement ambitious energy efficiency programmes. The heating distribution operators of Bydgoszcz and Lublin will receive EIB loans to modernise their networks, which will result in energy savings thanks to reduced energy losses and better air quality for their populations. The EIB will lend PLN 100m (equivalent to €23,2m) to Bydgoszcz's district heating operator to finance the upgrade of the City's district heating network and part of its energy generation system. The neighbouring municipalities (Solec Kujawski, Szubin, Nakło nad Notecią and Koronowo) will also share the benefit.

Source: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_134 

EU Funding for Greece Projects to Rise with Focus on Green Economy
28 Jan, 2020

EU funding for projects to be implemented in Greece, is expected to increase by 8 percent compared to the previous seven-year program, said European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas during the National Development Strategy Conference held in Athens, this month. According to a European Commission proposal, a total of 19.2 billion euros – up from 17.8 billion euros in 2014-2020 – is to be allocated to Greece under the EU’s National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) for 2021-2027, focusing primarily on projects in agriculture, migration, and the transition to the green economy.

Source: https://news.gtp.gr/2020/01/28/eu-funding-for-greece-projects-to-rise-with-focus-on-green-economy/ 

Can China Electrify All New Passenger Cars By 2030?
28 Jan, 2020

China’s electric vehicle industry is entering a new phase of accelerating development, President Xi Jinping wrote in a congratulatory message to participants of a new energy vehicle conference in early July. In 2018, China sold almost as many electric vehicles as the rest of the world combined. At the same event, the chairman of Chinese electric vehicle giant BYD upped the ante, challenging China to electrify all passenger vehicles by 2030. New energy vehicle sales are booming, but they still only amounted to 2.5% of car sales in China in 2018. Could all sales feasibly be electric within the next decade? A recent report from the Innovation Centre for Energy and Transportation (iCET) made the first public proposal of a timeline for the phaseout of petrol and diesel vehicles across China. According to the Beijing-based thinktank, 2030 is premature, but an entire phaseout could be possible by 2040. However, the report also highlights significant uncertainties ahead, including whether consumer appetite for electric vehicles will wane when government subsidies are cut.

Source: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/01/28/can-china-electrify-all-new-passenger-cars-by-2030/ 

Dutch Short-Sea Sector Gets Green Investment Boost
28 Jan, 2020

The Dutch government has launched an initiative to invest approximately of $275 million (€250 million) to improve and modernize its short-sea shipping sector. In a statement, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate said the investment will be made from the Nesec Shipping Debt Fund (NSDF) and will be specifically targeted at cutting emissions. It says that many shipowners are “struggling with outdated ships, which do not always meet the latest emission requirements”. Short-sea shipping is the transport of cargo across relatively short distances. Roughly 40% of all freight moved in Europe is classed as short sea shipping. The NSDF is a joint initiative between the state bodies, including the Dutch Water Board, the province of Groningen, and private institutional investors, such as the NN Investment Partners and Waterland Investment Services.

Source: https://www.porttechnology.org/news/dutch-short-sea-sector-gets-green-investment-boost/ 

Zero Carbon Buildings Are Possible Following These Four Steps
27 Jan, 2020

With increasing numbers of countries, states, cities and organizations committing to carbon neutrality by mid-century, zero carbon buildings are finally getting the attention they deserve as a critical climate solution. Buildings are responsible for nearly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is that both interest and investment in zero carbon buildings are growing along with the launch of public commitments and global initiatives. In the 2018 Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator Study, 50% of 1,900 global organizations in 20 countries plan to have at least one zero carbon (or net zero energy) building over the next 10 years. Additionally, 59% of organizations plan to increase investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart building technology next year. These investments are key to decarbonizing both new and existing buildings.

Source: https://europeansting.com/2020/01/27/zero-carbon-buildings-are-possible-following-these-four-steps/ 

German Industry Needs Policy Trigger For Deep Emission Cuts
24 Jan, 2020

Pressure is rising fast on industry to join the great decarbonisation race. Many energy-intensive German companies, like chemical giant BASF or steelmaker thyssenkrupp, already have detailed plans for drastic emission cuts, but lack viable business models to implement them. National and EU policymakers urgently need to fire the starting gun for low-carbon investments worth many billions of euros with new legislation – otherwise, their new ambitious climate plans risk becoming obsolete quickly. Germany's coal exit, the European Green Deal, and a highly anticipated hydrogen strategy could provide the necessary push in 2020. But many companies enter the climate-critical year preoccupied with managing trade conflicts, digitalisation, structural changes and a slowing economy.

Source: https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/german-industry-needs-policy-trigger-deep-emission-cuts 

Six European Cities Will Use Artificial Intelligence to Move Towards Carbon Neutrality
24 Jan, 2020

AI4Cities is a three-year EU-funded project bringing together leading European cities looking for artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and meet their climate commitments. Helsinki (Finland), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Copenhagen (Denmark), Paris Region (France), Stavanger (Norway) and Tallinn (Estonia) are the six European cities and regions involved in this project that has just kicked off. Through AI4Cities, these cities and regions will go through a Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) process, an innovation procurement tool that enables the public sector to steer the development of new solutions directly towards its needs.

Source: https://cordis.europa.eu/article/id/413372-six-european-cities-will-use-artificial-intelligence-to-move-towards-carbon-neutrality 

Could Renewables Overtake Coal in China?
19 Jan, 2020

In September of last year Oilprice reported an incredible milestone for renewable energy when solar and wind power became cheaper than coal in most of the world. Now, a new report released this week by Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables has heralded another milestone: China will soon be added to that list of countries in which coal is no longer more economical than renewable energy. This is a massive and massively important development because of the jaw-dropping scale at which China produces and burns coal. Alone, they consume as much coal as the rest of the world combined, and any claims that China has transitioned to “clean coal” should be taken with a hefty grain of salt. While the fact that coal is being priced out in much of the world marks great progress for the fight against climate change, especially at a moment that the UN is reminding the world with urgency that renewables are the path forward, true progress simply isn’t possible without China on board. And now it seems the winds of change have reached Beijing.

Source: https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Renewable-Energy/Could-Renewables-Overtake-Coal-In-China.html# 

EU Push For Green Finance Compels Germany To Develop Coherent Strategy In 2020
13 Jan, 2020

Green and sustainable finance has made a steep ascent in Germany last year and established itself as a key element of climate policy. Government plans to become a leading location for green financial products, intensifying EU regulation to make finance compatible with its Green Deal and a growing debate around the European Central Bank's responsibility for climate action are poised to dominate the debate in 2020. But while the volume of green investments in Germany is rising quickly, sustainable finance experts warn that the government needs to make up its mind and find a clear position on how it plans to integrate finance in its environmental policies in order to shape developments rather than just following them.

Source: https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/eu-push-green-finance-compels-germany-develop-coherent-strategy-2020 

Rethink Cities to Help Asia Make the Most of Urbanization
08 Jan, 2020

Cities have always played a central role in economic development by bringing workers and entrepreneurs together, spurring innovation, and sharing resources including infrastructure more efficiently. This should be good news for developing Asia: by 2050, there is projected to be 2.96 billion people living in the region’s towns and cities – 64% of all the entire population – up from 1.84 billion – or 46% of the population – in 2017. Unfortunately, while the region’s cities are sure to grow in size, they may fail to fulfill their potential as engines of growth and job creation due to underinvestment in urban infrastructure, a lack of affordable housing, and unsynchronized spatial and economic planning.

Source: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/01/08/rethink-cities-to-help-asia-make-the-most-of-urbanization/ 

Beijing’s New Solution for Millions of Tons of Trash
07 Jan, 2020

Starting this spring, Beijing will become the second Chinese city to impose a compulsory household waste-sorting policy, affecting some 21 million residents. The capital’s top policymaking body unveiled a set of new rules Dec. 18 to take effect May 1, requiring all households to sort trash by method of disposal, such as incineration, landfill, and recycling. The move follows similar rules imposed since July 2019 in Shanghai, the eastern financial hub. Both cities are responding to a nationwide push to address rising mountains of domestic waste produced by Chinese metropolises. Data from Beijing’s urban management commission showed that from January to October, the nation’s largest city by area produced more than 7.9 million tons of household trash, or 26,000 tons a day. The State Council, China’s Cabinet, set a target to apply compulsory garbage sorting in 46 major Chinese cities by the end of 2020.

Source: https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1005051/beijings-new-solution-for-millions-of-tons-of-trash 

China’s Move to Clean Energy Is Driving Natural Gas Demand
06 Jan, 2020

China is seeing significant growth in demand for natural gas as the government encourages the switch away from coal to cleaner energy. The country is already in the second year of a new three-year action plan for cleaner air, under which targets have been set for reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides and increasing the proportion of days with good air quality to 80 percent annually. In order to achieve this goal, the government is encouraging the generation sector to switch from using coal to natural gas, particularly for domestic heating, with the aim of having the natural gas account for 10 percent of energy consumption by 2020. Unsurprisingly, this policy goal is driving significant growth in natural gas demand. Gas consumption in China is expected to reach 310 billion cubic meters in 2019, a 10 percent increase on the previous year, according to the National Energy Administration.

Source: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/china-move-clean-energy-driving-050020354.html 

Europe's Hydrogen Revolution: The Promise of Power Without Pollution
04 Jan, 2020

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and offers the game-changing promise of clean power on a mass scale. While fuel cell and hydrogen technologies (FCH) have the potential to replace all fossil-based energy, conservative projections estimate FCH will be able to generate 2,250 terawatt hours (TWh) of hydrogen in the European Union by 2050. That would supply about a quarter of the bloc's total annual energy demand. In other words, an eyewatering amount of energy that could fuel 42 million large cars, 1.7 million trucks, around a quarter of a million buses and more than 5,500 trains.

Source: https://www.euronews.com/2020/01/24/europe-s-hydrogen-revolution-the-promise-of-power-without-pollution 

The Netherlands As A Model Green City For China
16 Dec, 2019

“China is rapidly urbanizing, by 2030 there will be more than 1 billion urban consumers…’ To compare statistics, the Netherlands’ largest city Amsterdam has a population of one million, while China’s biggest cities are pushing towards 30 million. In other words, in terms of sheer size, there may not be a lot of overlap. But did you know that the Netherlands is 93% urbanized? In our new ‘Feeding & Greening Mega Cities’ Study, we dive into the developments, similarities and differences and opportunities for the Dutch and Chinese sectors to connect. One of the key elements for the Chinese Green Mega Cities is smart water management. China has been facing severe issues water-related issues for years, both in terms of pollution and allocation. Sponge cities have become a national priority after dry spells and floods hitting many cities. Needless to say that this is an interesting opportunity to cooperate. “Every square centimeter in the Netherlands has been designed by civil engineers, architects, urban designers and landscape architects.” There are already several ongoing sponge city projects in China, and some water management projects have clear ties with the Netherlands.

Source: https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/latest-news/news/2019/12/16/the-netherlands-as-a-model-green-city-for-china 

China Aims to Double Water Transfers from Wet South to Arid North
12 Dec, 2019

China aims to double the amount of water it transfers from the flood-prone south to arid northern regions, officials said on Thursday, as the government prepares to launch the second phase of its controversial cross-country water diversion scheme. The South-North Water Diversion Project was first proposed in 1952 to ease flooding in the south and drought in the north, but critics say its costs are too high and the diversion of polluted water to other regions could contaminate other lakes and rivers. The first phase of the project, completed five years ago, linked the Yangtze and Yellow rivers through two main routes in eastern and central China, with another, more challenging route in the far west still to come. Preliminary work is now underway on the second phase, which will raise annual delivery capacity from 8.77 billion cubic meters to 16.5 billion cubic meters, said Shi Chunxian, head of the planning office of the Ministry of Water Resources.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-water/china-aims-to-double-water-transfers-from-wet-south-to-arid-north-idUSKBN1YG0AA 

European Green Deal To Include New Circular Economy Plan
11 Dec, 2019

The circular economy and resource management have been placed at the centre of the European Commission’s European Green Deal, with proposals including a EU-wide model for the separate collection of waste and rules on minimum recycled content promising a step change in the EU’s approach to resources and waste. The European Green Deal, the details of which were unveiled today (11 December) in an official Communication from the Commission, sets a carbon neutral target of 2050 for the EU, which will be enshrined in a Climate Law by March 2020, and is set to be the key policy of the new Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen. The strategy document states that the Green Deal is ‘a new growth strategy that aims to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use’.

Source: https://resource.co/article/european-green-deal-include-new-circular-economy-plan 

The Top Sustainable Developments Interfacing Between Green And Smart
04 Dec, 2019

New World Development’s K11 Atelier office building on King’s Road has received three of the highest sustainable building certifications. In the Chief Executive’s 2019 Policy Address, the plan to improve the energy efficiency of government buildings and to encourage bureaus and departments to show their commitment to low-carbon growth has focused attention on sustainability in the real estate sector again.“The discussions around green buildings are not new, but we are now seeing greater commitment than before from the government and developers,” says Alex Katsanos, director and head of business advisory for Hong Kong and Macau at natural and built assets consultancy Arcadis. The group’s Sustainability Vision 2030 (SV2030) references the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and steers NWD to curate business offerings and initiatives revolving around green, wellness, smart and caring.

Source: https://www.scmp.com/special-reports/special-reports/topics/luxehomes-2019-annual-edition/article/3040548/top 

How To Improve Water Quality In Europe
03 Dec, 2019

The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) adopted in 2000 aims to protect Europe's water resources. By 2027, EU Member States are required to bring all water bodies into a "good ecological" and "good chemical state." There's still a long way to go. This is due, for example, to the fact that a few existing substances, for which there are currently no suitable possibilities for reducing pollution, lead to environmental quality standards being exceeded across the board in Germany and Europe—and thus to poor water quality. "What's more, the complex mixtures of pesticides, medicines and industrial chemicals that are released daily and pose a considerable risk for humans and the environment are not taken into account when establishing the chemical status of our water bodies," says UFZ Environmental Chemist Dr. Werner Brack, who coordinated the SOLUTIONS project that drew to a close last year.

Source: https://phys.org/news/2019-12-quality-europe.html 

27.7-Bln-USD Projects Signed At China-Singapore Financial Summit
11 Nov, 2019

A total of 56 major projects were signed at this year's Financial Summit of China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity held Monday in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, with an aggregate amount of 194.5 billion yuan (about 27.7 billion U.S. dollars). The projects involved areas including green bonds, debt financing, cross-border logistics, education and tourism, in a bid to enhance financial cooperation under the initiative. The summit was co-hosted by the Ministry of Commerce, the People's Bank of China, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange and the Chongqing municipal government, as well as the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. 

Source: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-11/04/c_138528124.htm

COP25: Meps Push For CO2 Neutrality By 2050
06 Nov, 2019

The EU should commit to net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 at the UN Conference and step up its emissions’ reduction ambition for 2030, said the Environment Committee on Wednesday.

Ahead of the COP25 UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid in December, the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee approved on Wednesday a resolution calling on the EU to submit its long-term strategy to reach climate neutrality at the latest by 2050 to the UN Convention on Climate Change as soon as possible. This would guarantee the EU maintains its world leadership in the fight against climate change.

They also highlighted the need for the EU to raise its ambition level for 2030 in order to reach the 2050 target. MEPs expect the European Green Deal announced by European Commission President-elect Ursula Von Der Leyen to include a target of 55% emissions reductions by 2030.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20191105IPR65866/cop25-meps-push-for-co2-neutrality-by-2050

European Experts Discuss Ballast Water Management
06 Nov, 2019

The European Maritime Safety Agency held an event on the implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s Ballast Water Management Convention, on 29-30 October in Lisbon, Portugal.

The Ballast Water Management Convention is a 2004 international maritime treaty, that aims to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic organisms from one region to another and prevent ships from transferring organisms between ecosystems in different parts of the world.

Participants from Algeria, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia were provided with detailed information regarding the monitoring of the Convention, an update on the latest technology, the view of the Port State Control, as well as ballast water management systems.

https://www.neweurope.eu/article/european-experts-discuss-ballast-water-management/

Connectivity of Port-Rail Must be Strengthened in EU Policy
06 Nov, 2019

Experts from both sea and inland ports over the last year, have been assessing the European railway legislation from a port perspective. This has resulted in a position paper adopted by the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) and the European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP).

The joint position paper “Ports in the European Rail System” comes to five main conclusions:

The implementation of the current EU legislative rail framework should recognise that port authorities manage a complex web of transport, logistics, industry, energy, blue growth and community interests and rail management is generally not their core task. Moreover, the set-up of rail systems in European ports varies considerably in terms of infrastructure development and management, rail operation, charging systems and contractual relations between the port authority and rail operators or undertakings, which makes a one-size-fits-all approach unfit.

https://afloat.ie/port-news/port-and-shipping-news/item/44555-connectivity-of-port-rail-must-be-strengthened-in-eu-policy

Europe Calls For 'Muscular' Climate Action
05 Nov, 2019

The world has to start acting in a more muscular way on climate change and make a fundamental overhaul of economic models, a senior European official believes.

But eyes in the sky such as the EU's Copernicus satellite system can help politicians and policymakers understand the impacts climate change can wreak.

Patrick Child, the deputy director-general of the European Commission's research and innovation department, says the continent is very proud to be leading the way in delivering the Paris agreement on climate action.

While he wouldn't buy into Australia's often-testy political debate on the issue, he said there was a global challenge in making sure the scientific evidence around climate change was brought into the broader debate and used to set government priorities.

https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/story/6476615/europe-calls-for-muscular-climate-action/?cs=7576

China's Major Industrial Province Takes Steps In Clean Energy
04 Nov, 2019

China's major industrial province Shandong is taking big steps to construct wind farms and photovoltaic power stations.

Compared with equivalent thermal-electricity projects, the wind farm in the city of Laixi could help annually save 256,200 tonnes of standard coal consumption while reducing harmful emissions, said Zhang Renqiang, technical director with the State Grid's subsidiary in Laixi.

According to the provincial government report in 2019, Shandong is facing a key turning point to develop clean energy and accelerate reduction in coal consumption.

Shandong aims to focus on the development of renewable resources, nuclear power and natural gas this year in a bid to boost the use of green power, according to the Energy Administration of Shandong Province.

The province will strengthen cooperation with large enterprises on the integration of offshore wind power and marine farm, wave energy, and tidal energy. The province is also going to promote the planning and construction of photovoltaic bases in the saline-alkali shoal of the Yellow River Delta, according to the administration.

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-11/04/c_138527274.htm

As Urbanization Grows, Cities Unveil Sustainable Development Solutions On World Day
02 Nov, 2019

Over half of the world’s population now live in cities, with numbers expected to double by 2050, but while urbanization poses serious challenges, cities can also be powerhouses for sustainable development; something the UN is spotlighting on World Cities Day, marked 31 October. 

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) will host a celebration at its Paris Headquarters on Thursday, convening representatives from all corners of the world for discussions on how cities can combat the climate crisis, create more inclusive urban spaces, and contribute to technical innovation. 

Cities provide a wealth of opportunities, jobs included, and generate over 80 per cent of gross national product across the globe, according to UN estimates. Urban areas also account for between 60 and 80 per cent of all energy consumption, despite only occupying three per cent of the planet’s surface and are responsible for three quarters of all greenhouse gas emissions.

https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/11/02/as-urbanization-grows-cities-unveil-sustainable-development-solutions-on-world-day/

The Next Step for Green Commercial Shipping
01 Nov, 2019

Increasing concerns about sulphur emissions and water pollution has pushed the shipping industry to pursue a more sustainable method of transporting goods.

As climate change is one of the hottest topics today, businesses are becoming more conscious about their carbon footprint. The transport required for global trade is a specific concern.

A study published in Business Reporter points out that 90% of the world’s trade in goods is transported by ships. This means the shipping industry is responsible for around 14 per cent of the world’s sulphur emissions.

“The shipping industry is a lifeline of global trade,” says Hans Middelthon, Managing Director of Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) Europe Ltd, in the article. “However, shipping is a major pollutant contributing to climate change.” So what can be done to make a positive difference?

https://www.scitecheuropa.eu/the-next-step-for-green-commercial-shipping/98095/

Cities Fostering Low-Emission Development Across The Globe Join A European Study Trip
28 Oct, 2019

Cities and local authorities from across the globe are racing to find practical solutions for meeting rising energy demands and an increasing vulnerability to climate change, amidst rapid population growth rates. In June, the City of Helsinki hosted the kick-off to an international study trip of representatives from 23 different cities from Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Rwanda, South Africa and Europe to exchange on successful projects for sustainable urban development and climate resilience. In exchanging directly on the lessons learned in the area of smart, low-carbon energy supply, citizen engagement and regeneration by urban planning, climate change and energy experts from the three host cities Helsinki (Finland), Bologna (Italy) and Warsaw (Poland), the delegation gathered practical input for the development of their own low-emission development strategies.

https://www.sustaineurope.com/cities-fostering-low-emission-development-across-the-globe-join-a-european-study-trip-20191028.html

European Commission Makes European Green Deal A Top Priority
17 Oct, 2019

The proposed European Green Deal aims to increase climate ambition, create a climate law and strengthen financial support to spur climate action across Europe. The EU budget, complemented by the proposed creation of a ‘Just Transition Fund’, can play a significant role in speeding up the transition away from oil, gas and coal and in promoting climate-compatible investments at national and regional level.

In light of the climate crisis and the mass demonstrations against governments’ failure to tackle it, the EU budget has a great potential to steer the next generation of EU funds from 2021 to 2027 towards climate neutrality: support the transition to zero-carbon economies, particularly in the EU’s lesser developed and more polluted regions, and end subsidising carbon-intensive infrastructure as it is still happening today.

This requires a much stronger focus on climate action in the overall budget spending, and allowing Cohesion Policy funds to play their part in the decarbonisation of central and eastern Europe in particular.

https://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/panorama/european-commission-makes-european-green-deal-a-20191017

Sustainable Finance Drive Can Help Address EU’s Political Challenges
11 Oct, 2019

The future European Commission, headed up by Ursula von der Leyen, will put sustainability and inclusivity at the heart of the European financial policy. Over the last weeks, as the European Parliament elected Ms von der Leyen and approved most of her team, it was clear that advancing sustainable finance will be a key driver in their ambition for Europe to become the first climate-neutral continent.

Valdis Dombrovskis (ex-Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Republic of Latvia) will become Executive Vice-President of ‘An Economy that Works for People’ and Commissioner for financial services. He spearheaded sustainable finance in the EU under his role as Commissioner in the Juncker Commission and he’ll continue where he left off.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/opinion/sustainable-finance-drive-can-help-address-eus-political-challenges/

Turning Waste Into Wealth: World Habitat Day Focus On Cleaning Up Cities
09 Oct, 2019

Waste can have a devastating effect on public health, the environment, and the climate, but cutting-edge innovation and technology can provide improved, cheaper solutions to the challenge, and help cities and communities to see waste as a business opportunity. This was the message marking World Habitat Day, on Monday, with a focus on waste management.

“We must reduce the amount of waste we produce”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement. “And, at the same time, start seeing it as a valuable resource that can be re-used and recycled, including for energy”.

Linked to the International Day, UN-Habitat, the United Nations agency for human settlements, has launched a “Waste Wise Cities” campaign, to address the increasing challenges of coping with solid waste.

https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/10/09/turning-waste-into-wealth-world-habitat-day-focus-on-cleaning-up-cities/

Could China’s Cement Industry Be Fuelled With Household Waste?
08 Oct, 2019

If the cement industry were a country, it would be the fourth largest CO2 emitter, accounting for 7% of global emissions – about the same share as India.

China produces the majority of the world’s cement, a powdery substance that is mixed with sand, gravel and water to make concrete. In the period 2011-2013, China produced more cement than the US in the entire 20th century.

The Chinese cement industry has already made improvements in energy efficiency. In 2017, it accounted for 57% of the global industry’s output but only 52% of its emissions. However, emissions reductions from energy efficiency measures are tiny compared to those that could be achieved with innovative technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), which sequesters emissions.

https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/11565-Could-China-s-cement-industry-be-fuelled-with-household-waste-

How Cities Are Decarbonising
08 Oct, 2019

Cities around the world are taking action, even in the US where 30 cities now have stringent energy measures in their building codes. Now we know that an investment of $1.83 trillion a year in 16 low-carbon measures in cities – about 2 per cent of global GDP – could reduce global urban emissions by 90 per cent by 2050.

Zero carbon cities offer a powerful lever to secure economic prosperity and boost living standards across a country. Such cities can both drive economic prosperity and effectively play their part in addressing the global climate emergency.

https://www.thefifthestate.com.au/urbanism/infrastructure/how-cities-are-decarbonising/

Leaders Launch Initiative to Decarbonize Buildings by 2050
01 Oct, 2019

At the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, high-level officials from government, business and civil society launched the ‘Zero Carbon Buildings for All Initiative,’ which unites leaders across sectors in an international coalition to decarbonize the building sector and meet the Paris Agreement on climate change. Multilateral development banks (MDBs) and private financial institutions also committed to aligning their financing of buildings with the Paris Agreement and national climate policies, which could lead to a potential USD 1 trillion in “Paris compliant” buildings investment in developing countries by 2030.

The Zero Carbon Buildings for All Initiative responds to the need of making all buildings net zero carbon by 2050 to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, while fewer than 1% of buildings are today.

https://sdg.iisd.org/news/leaders-launch-initiative-to-decarbonize-buildings-by-2050/

Industrial Bank Co., Ltd. And CDM Fund Reached A Cooperation Agreement To Jointly Innovate A Green Financing Model For Clean Development
03 Sep, 2019

Content: On September 2, Industrial Bank Co., Ltd. signed the Green Financial Cooperation Agreement with the Management Center of China Clean Development Mechanism Fund (hereinafter referred to as “CDM Fund”), to jointly innovate a green financing model for clean development in order to support the country’s response to climate change and help local economies’ green transformation. At the same time, the first project under the cooperation mode is being implemented in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province.

According to the Agreement, the two sides will, in accordance with the national eco-environmental protection plan and energy conservation and emission reduction targets, play out the guidance and leverage role of the Fund and the green finance capabilities and advantages of the Industrial Bank Co., Ltd. to innovate a green financing model for clean development. They will jointly promote business cooperation and product innovation such as green financing and investment, green bonds, green wealth management and other environmentally friendly cooperation. They will cooperate in green financial policy research, participate in relevant standards research and formulation, and accelerate the construction of China’s green financial system and ecological civilization. According to Mr. LUO Shiyi, General Manager of the Green Finance Department of the Industrial Bank Co., Ltd., the innovative green financing model that the two sides are working on will provide financing support for projects through three mechanisms: One is the Industrial Bank Co., Ltd. to lend the Fund’s money as it is entrusted by the Fund. Second, the Bank provides guarantees for the funds provided by the Fund, to guarantee security of the policy fund while supporting low-carbon projects. And third, the Bank and the Fund jointly provide loans for enterprises, while the Bank provides guarantees for the funds provided by the Fund.

Link: https://finance.sina.com.cn/stock/relnews/cn/2019-09-03/doc-iicezueu3070982.shtml

Five Recommendations To Support Green Investment Under The “Belt & Road Initiative” 
02 Sep, 2019

Content: On September 2, Tsinghua University’s Wudaokou Center for Financial and Development Research (Tsinghua CFD), together with the Vivid Economics and the ClimateWorks Foundation, released the world’s first quantitative research report on green investment and carbon emission reduction paths in countries covered under the “Belt & Road Initiative”. According to the report, at least $12 trillion will be needed to green-invest in the infrastructure of the “Belt and Road” countries in 2016-2030 in order to ensure compliance with the Paris Agreement’s climate objectives. The report also pointed out that the “‘Belt & Road’ Initiative (BRI) can serve as an important platform to mobilize green investment and promote to construct a green financial system along the ‘Belt & Road’ countries.”

Link: http://www.greenfinance.org.cn/displaynews.php?id=2624

Businesses In BENELUX To Receive 400 Million EUR For Sustainability
02 Sep, 2019

Business enterprises from the BENELUX will have access to a significant amount of funding for sustainable investment, as announced by the European Investment Bank. This was made possible after an agreement was reached between the EU bank and ING for a total of EUR 400 million. The amount will be provided in the form of multiple loans with preferential interest rates to business enterprises located in the three countries and aims to help them invest in sustainable projects. Half of it will go to businesses in the Netherlands and the rest will be allocated to Belgium and Luxembourg.

The involvement of the EU bank is crucial to the beneficiaries as it guarantees a particularly low interest rate – at only 0.3%. The former will verse 200 million euros to ING which in turn will double it and distribute it to its clients for selected projects. This action contributes to the existing program of ING operating in BENELUX successfully since 2018. The new financing programme will enter in operation next month.

Source: https://www.themayor.eu/en/businesses-in-benelux-to-receive-400-million-eur-for-sustainability

Ma Jun: Central Banks Should Push Green Loans
01 Sep, 2019

Content: Central banks should play a more active role in promoting green finance, according to Ma Jun, member of the PBOC`s Monetary Policy Committee and Chair of Supervision Workstream of NGFS, the Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System.

“Green `QE` is an interesting idea for central banks to support the green finance market” Ma told MNI in the second part of an exclusive interview.

“The PBOC initiated the green re-lending program that provides low-cost funds for commercial banks to lend to green projects since 2017, which, to some extent, resembles Green QE in terms of its role in reducing costs of green funding,” said Ma, who is also Chairman of the Green Finance Committee of China Society for Finance and Banking, an industrial association set up by the PBOC to promote green finance.

Link: http://www.greenfinance.org.cn/displaynews.php?id=2606

Helsinki Goes All In On Electric
29 Aug, 2019

In the capital city of Finland, the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) plans to introduce new electric buses to its fleet in autumn 2019, announced Helsinki Municipality. The plan is to make one out of every three buses serving the metropolitan area to be electric by 2025. HSL has already rented several buses for test use.

The plan means a big investment as well, because the transport network has a total of over 1,500 vehicles in operation. In fact, the electric buses are even more expensive than their biogas alternatives, costing 400,000 euros each on average, or the cost of two diesel-run equivalent buses.

Source: https://www.themayor.eu/en/helsinki-goes-all-in-on-electric

Latvian Cities Will Soon Have Textile Sorting Containers
28 Aug, 2019

Starting this Autumn, 20 textile recycling bins will be placed in Riga, Mārupe, Babīte and Tukums, provided by the waste management company Eco Baltia Movement. Everything collected in these bins will be transported to the Movement’s facilities near the city of Tukums. The company will also be collecting data on what materials citizens are discarding and how frequently they do it.

According to the CEO of Eco Baltia Movement, the plan for these containers is to expand the service in the coming years. They want to have 1000 containers available in the whole of Latvia by 2025, so that all citizens have the opportunity to sort their textiles.

Source: https://www.themayor.eu/en/latvian-cities-will-soon-have-textile-sorting-containers

Two Wind Power Plant Projects Receive Green Light In Styria
27 Aug, 2019

WindparkStanglalm GmbH has been trying to receive a permit to develop Styria’s wind power plants for around 4 years. The hurdles were numerous, including many debates with citizens as well as a lengthy environmental impact assessment study carried out by professionals. Now, finally, with all the proper documentation submitted and the assessment coming up positive, the Austrian regional government has allowed the company to begin work.

Two projects were submitted for the expansion of the region’s wind power generation facilites. The first one concerns the construction of 4 additional turbines at the Pretul II wind power plant. The second one was regarding the establishment of an entirely new power generation facility in the Fischbach Alps, which will host 9 turbines of its own.

Source: https://www.themayor.eu/en/two-wind-power-plant-projects-receive-green-light-in-styria

Smart buildings, artificial intelligence key to uni's bold plan to be carbon neutral by 2029
27 Aug, 2019

Researchers from La Trobe's Centre for Data Analytics and Cognition are designing the La Trobe Energy Analytics Platform (LEAP) — a tool which will monitor and manage energy consumption across the university's 50 buildings.

It promises to make lighting, heating, and cooling adjustments in real time to reduce energy consumption.

The technology will help the tertiary institution reach its net-zero emissions target by 2029, one year ahead of Monash University's 2030 target.

Net-zero carbon emissions, or carbon-neutral emissions, are achieved by balancing the amount of carbon released with an equal amount of carbon offset by producing clean energy or buying carbon credits.

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-27/smart-buildings-buildings-key-to-net-zero-emissions/11446862

Bologna Promoting Culture and Citizens’ Involvement In Sustainable Urban Development
27 Aug, 2019

As the capital of the Emilia Romagna Region, Bologna has plenty of experience in developing climate and sustainable energy action plans, being an active member of the European Covenant of Mayors since 2008. Over the years, the city has been aiming to incentivise citizens to become active and responsible stakeholders for the sustainable development of their own neighbourhoods. Through its involvement in the Urban-LEDS II project and the city network ICLEI – Local Governments of Sustainability, Bologna has shared its experience in bringing on board the public when delivering on its climate action and sustainable energy action plan (SEAP) with its international city peers.

Source: The Mayor.EU - https://www.themayor.eu/en/bologna-promoting-culture-and-citizens-involvement-in-sustainable-urban-development

Ireland To Reduce Single-Use Plastic Bottles With Free Water Access
25 Aug, 2019

A voluntary environmental project, Refill Ireland wants to turn Ireland into a tap water refilling country again. According to their website refill.ie, there are already more than 850 publicly accessible locations where one can refill their multi-use water bottle for free, thereby reducing considerably the need to purchase plastic water bottles. The access to free water is facilitated enormously by the online TAP MAP showing a list with all locations, which can be filtered by town or city and type.

Not only is the initiative highly popular among locals, but it is also attractive environmentally conscious businesses, which provide locations for tap stations in their property. The costs for businesses is particularly low, estimated at around 1.16 euros per 1000 litres of water.

Source: https://www.themayor.eu/en/ireland-to-reduce-single-use-plastic-bottles-with-free-water-access

Taurage Goes Solar
22 Aug, 2019

The Taurage City Council decided by a unanimous vote to allow the submission of applications for the purchase and creation of more photovoltaic power plants across the city – both on public and residential buildings. Currently the administration is reviewing the applications of the Taurage Hospital, the Public Library of the Taurage Social Services Centre, the Taurage cultural centre as well as many other schools and high schools.

The local administration is committed to transforming the city and making it more environmentally friendly. According to officials, they are always looking for new ways to reduce the municipality’s impact on the environment.

Source: https://www.themayor.eu/en/taurage-goes-solar

Denmark Will Kick Out Polluting Vehicles from Big Cities In 2020
16 Aug, 2019

The Danish government proposal suggests that polluting trucks, buses and vans will be banned from several big cities in Denmark starting the summer of 2020, as so-called environmental zones become more stringent. This means that older versions of the vehicles will not have access to the zones in Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg unless they have particle filters mounted. The government estimates that the eco initiative will help reduce total emissions of soot particles generated by traffic by upwards of 25% in the cities.

The tightening of the environmental zones will be gradually implemented. Starting from 1st July 2020, trucks and buses must have been manufactured in 2009 at the earliest, and vans in 2007, if they are to be permitted to drive in the zones without a mounted particle filter. 

Source: https://www.themayor.eu/en/denmark-will-kick-out-polluting-vehicles-from-big-cities-in-2020

Germany Planning To Introduce Plastic Bag Ban
12 Aug, 2019

Germany’s environment minister Svenja Schulze of the SPD (the German Social Democratic Party) has stated she plans to introduce a ban on the use of plastic bags in the near future. The goal according to her is to "get out of the throwaway society and that overall, we use less plastic.". According to data provided by the German environment ministry, the use of plastic bags has declined by 64% since 2015, following an agreement reached between the federal government and businesses which introduced a mandatory price on plastic bags. Schulze, however, wants to go even further, as plastic bags represent barely 1% of plastic consumption. She is setting her sights on the packaging of foodstuffs as well.

Source: https://www.themayor.eu/en/germany-planning-to-introduce-plastic-bag-ban

Milan's Buses Will All Be Electric By 2030
12 Aug, 2019

ATM Milano (the company responsible for public transportation in Milan city) announced its plan to be operating no diesel buses by 2030. The public company has bought 250 electric buses for 192 million euros. The first 40 buses will be delivered in June next year.

The 12-metre electric buses will be equipped with batteries of high energy type with a total capacity of over 240 kWh. The benefits of an electric bus will be the extremely low noise production, reduced vibration and most importantly - no local emissions.  All this will increase the travel comfort of the inhabitants of Milan. In addition, the comfortable interior will be fitted with a series of state-of-the-art solutions, as USB ports enabling the recharging of mobile devices, a passenger information system and a video surveillance system. The driver will have screens displaying a view of the doors and the pantograph, and a rear-view reversing camera. The air-conditioned passenger compartment can fit up to 82 people, of whom 26 will be able to sit. The vehicle will be adapted to the needs of persons with disabilities.

Source: https://www.themayor.eu/en/milans-buses-will-all-be-electric-by-2030

Braga With Intelligent Public Lighting Trial Project
02 Aug, 2019

The municipality of Braga is making headlines yet again with its environmentally friendly policies. The city’s northern urban district is hosting the ground breaking Intelligent Public Lighting trial project across 4.5 hectares of its terrain.  

The new system has the following features – it can remotely manage and adapt lighting levels in the area, it can automatically check for lighting failures thanks to automatic failure notifications, it can measure the amount of energy consumption and the amount of energy saved, its interface allows you to see where on the map there is active lighting, it will also be possible to assign individual dimming and lighting calendars for individual lamps through a special interface. The devices are also equipped with motion sensors, allowing them to activate and deactivate depending on the traffic in their surroundings. The Intelligent Public Lighting is also constantly collecting data on ozone levels, amounts of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, temperatures, humidity etc. which it then stores on a cloud data server.

Source: https://www.themayor.eu/en/braga-with-intelligent-public-lighting-trial-project

Blagoevgrad Has Put Into Operation Underground Waste Management Systems
22 Jul, 2019

The first underground waste containers in Blagoevgrad were just unveiled and are ready to be used by residents and guests of the Bulgarian town, informed the Municipality. A total of eight containers were installed in the city centre. Three of them are located in the space between the building of the Opera and the Mineral Bath, two in the parking lot near Macedonia Square and three at “Gyorche Petrov” street. Containers are designed for household waste and must not be used for the disposal of glass waste. Gradually, Blagoevgrad Municipality will develop the project, and such containers will be placed elsewhere in the city centre as well as in different neighborhoods.

Source: https://www.themayor.eu/en/blagoevgrad-has-put-into-operation-underground-waste-management-systems

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:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-pollution-water/china-needs-nearly-150-billion-to-treat-severe-river-pollution-official-idUSKBN1KG091

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.

Source:https://www.eea.europa.eu/articles/climate-change-investing-in-low

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.

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

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.”

Sources:http://www.citiscope.org/story/2017/cremona-ideas-make-circular-economy-real-cities

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

https://www.chinadialogue.org.cn/blog/10292-One-Planet-Summit-raises-ambition-on-climate-finance/en

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.

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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.