Ready to take a Pique Behind the Curtain? Today, we’re covering hydropower, incentivizing farmers to cut down on cow emissions, and eliminating organic waste in our communities. Read on!
— Written by Shayna Berglas
"Energy is the currency in which we advance human civilization."
By producing over twice as much energy as wind and over four times as much as solar, hydropower comprises well over 90% of the world's total energy storage capacity. And its potential is equally as massive.
But there’s a problem - hydropower has been associated with negative impacts on aquatic biodiversity and the local communities where infrastructure is built… until now.
Natel Energy is a sibling-run startup out of California. They’re restoring rivers and generating renewable energy by building hydro turbines that are safe for fish and for local communities.
Sound fishy to you? Let us prove you wrong! Check in next week for the full film.
New Tax for Climate on… Cow Burps?
You may have heard about climate taxes on plastic bags or on carbon emissions (also known as cap and trade). But have you heard about one on cows?
New Zealand is proposing a levy on greenhouse gasses that farm animals produce from burping and urinating (among other fun bodily functions). The ‘world-first scheme’ will see farmers paying for agricultural emissions in some form by 2025.
But some of those farmers are having a cow - and with good reason. An immediate concern of this tax should be the effects on small-town farmers. Though local farmers tend to utilize more sustainable agricultural practices and produce less emissions, they may not be as equipped to handle the extra cost as mass-produced livestock ranches would be. But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern claims that the money raised from the proposed tax will be circulated back into the industry to finance new research, technology, and subsidies to support small farmers.
In New Zealand, the government has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Part of that pledge includes reducing methane emissions from farm animals by 10% by 2030 and by up to 47% by 2050. Taking measures to meet those goals is exactly what leading nations should be doing. We’re over the moon about it!
Good Climate News!
Forgive me for stating the obvious. I’m simply the messenger of worthy news!
Eliminating waste isn’t just a way to keep plastic out of our oceans and off of our streets - it’s also a climate solution. A recent report has shown that zero-waste practices like composting and production cuts could decrease global waste emissions by 84%, or more than 1.4 billion metric tons per year. That’s equal to taking all the cars in the United States off of the road.
The anti-waste nonprofit Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) claims that there are many practices cities could put in place to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and become climate-resilient.
Many of these strategies come from reducing and managing organic waste. This is because 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from food we throw in the bin. Things like food scraps and grass clippings produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Luckily, the solution is fairly straightforward. If cities were to collect organic matter in an independent waste stream separate from plastic, glass, and other discarded materials, it would allow them to reduce emissions from landfills by about 62%.
Cities around the world are already implementing this. South Korea’s capital, Seoul, has found a way to divert some 96% of its organic waste. Encouraging municipalities to adopt similar programs will help local communities tackle the planet’s urgent methane problem.
What We’re Watching, Reading, and Listening to
Searching for more positive and informative climate content? Look no further!