Taking Off Toward Decarbonized Air Travel 🛫
Spoiler: air travel emits tons of CO2. But what if we already have a solution ready to be scaled? Read about this exciting startup and more in this week’s edition of Pique Behind the Curtain.
— Written by Shayna Berglas
Modern aviation makes up 2.7% of global CO2 emissions, but experts expect that number to grow anywhere from 300-700% by 2050. While planes become more efficient with each new model, growing demand for flights is outpacing those advancements. In order to reach our targets of limiting atmospheric warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius, we need to decarbonize the industry quickly.
Heart Aerospace is a startup founded by aviation aficionado and MIT graduate Anders Forster. The startup’s electric planes could help companies achieve promises to cut emissions and make shorter plane routes financially feasible by minimizing fuel and maintenance costs. They’re flying towards an electrified future - and they’ll be ready to take off as soon as 2028.
Watch our micro-documentary on Heart Aerospace here.
The New Face of Climate Denial
Delay is the new deny.
If we’re talking about climate change, that is. In Glasgow at last year’s U.N. climate summit, world leaders promised to halt deforestation, phase out fossil fuel subsidies and offer up more climate aid. But the follow-through has been… lacking.
For example, on the topic of curbing greenhouse gas emissions, only 24 nations have made good on their promises from COP26 to revisit and strengthen their climate pledges. That’s not enough to limit atmospheric warming to 1.5 C. The number ends up being closer to 2.5 C, which is an improvement over last year’s predictions. And that improvement matters.
Countries like Australia and Indonesia have set more ambitious targets for curbing emissions. The United States has passed the Inflation Reduction Act which includes $369 billion in funding to tackle climate change and brings us closer to Biden’s goal of cutting climate pollution in half from 2005 levels by 2030.
I’m of the mind that at this point, any individual, organization, or nation delaying action is in denial about the severity of apathy’s consequences when it comes to climate. We aren’t at the scale and pace of emissions reductions required to hit our global target. Despite this, there have been promising strides made. Recognizing, celebrating, and leaning into those successes is our best chance at protecting our planet and its people.
Good Climate News! 🌍
Three organizations in the state of Massachusetts will receive more than $4 million to restore salt marshes and increase coastal resilience. The check was written by the public-private National Coastal Resilience Fund as a part of more than $136 million for 88 projects across the country.
Coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Sea-level rise and heavy storms can cause erosion and flooding, as well as loss of natural habitat and biodiversity. However, a green infrastructure approach can reduce these effects. This includes using plants, reefs, sand, and other natural barriers to strengthen and maintain a shoreline’s natural processes.
In Massachusetts, there are 45,000 acres of salt marsh providing wildlife habitat, buffering coastal infrastructure from storm surges, and storing tons of carbon in dense peaty soil - about 41% of which has been lost since 1977 due to human activities.
While some climate-related challenges will require years of research and development to solve, there are actions we can take today to help increase coastal resilience. That’s exactly what the National Coastal Resilience Fund is financing. So far, they’ve restored about 500 acres of marshland - and they’re ready to scale up!
What We’re Watching 🎥, Reading 📚, and Listening to 🎧
Searching for more positive and informative climate content? Look no further!
In Case You Missed It 🔍
Understanding how written law plays into the effectiveness of climate policy is an important part of crafting more effective action plans to save the planet. Click play to learn more!
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