Environmental investment in India – nice to have or crucial to economic development?

 One often gets the impression that investment into environmental protection is hindering economic development; new analysis however, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, proves this wrong and shows that the social and economic benefits by far outweigh the cost.

By looking at the advanced measures to reduce fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in India the report shows how these measures pay for themselves in a few years by increasing productivity. Furthermore, better air quality and human health can also save cost in other areas. Especially cardiovascular diseases, asthma, and lung cancer are linked to fine particulate matter accumulating in the air – and without additional air pollution controls, its concentrations in many parts of India will more than triple by 2030.

“We compared the costs and benefits of implementing the measures currently specified in Indian air pollution legislation with applying advanced air pollution emission controls that are common in industrialized countries” explains International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis IIASA Program Leader Markus Amann. Continue reading “Environmental investment in India – nice to have or crucial to economic development?”

Climate Change Showdown.

REN21 is gearing up for its participation at the climate change talks in Warsaw.  While climate is not a central theme to REN21’s work, renewables should be a central element of any climate action plan.

Despite tremendous growth in renewable energy witnessed over the last decade, fossil fuels continue to be a destructive force on our environment and the chief contributor to global climate change. Fossil fuel combustion currently accounts for nearly 70 percent of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, two-thirds of which come from the energy sector. Although renewables accounted for 19 percent of global energy consumption in 2011, new estimates for CO2 emissions from traditional fossil fuels reveal a 1.4 percent increase, resulting in a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes (Gt). Continue reading “Climate Change Showdown.”

Food waste: Disturbing findings by The Global Initiative on Food Losses and Waste Reduction

Over the last few days foodwaste was an issue in the media again – every so often we all appear shocked when confronted with the facts but it seems the situation is not improving; while in one corner of the world people stuff themselves and waste perfectly fine food, in others parents are wondering every single evening whether their children will eat the next day.

The SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Losses and Waste Reduction has just presented its latest key findings regarding this paradox situation: Continue reading “Food waste: Disturbing findings by The Global Initiative on Food Losses and Waste Reduction”

Water Resources Management – a global challenge for the future

In the past couples of decades over 80% of countries have reformed water laws – mainly as a response to expanding populations, urbanization and climate change.

While some of these measures were quite successful, global process has been rather slow when it comes to drinking water access, human health and water efficiency in agriculture.

A UN survey originally produced for informed decision-making at and since RIO+20 covers the efforts of over 130 national governments and their efforts to improve the sustainable management of water resources. The focus of this survey is on approaches to the management and use of water, known as Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). Continue reading “Water Resources Management – a global challenge for the future”

New sustainability indicator revealed at RIO+20

I guess most readers here are painfully aware of the current situation where so much emphasis is placed on economic growth while it ignores much of the often largely irreversible depletion of natural resources. A new UN report now presents a new indicator aimed at encouraging sustainability: The Inclusive Wealth Index (IWI) was unveiled in the Inclusive Wealth Report 2012. This achievement is a joint initiative launched at Rio+20 by the United Nations University’s International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (UNU-IHDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The IWI looks at changes in inclusive wealth in 20 countries which together account for almost three quarters of global GDP, from 1990 to 2008. The IWI goes beyond the scope of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Human Development Index (HDI). It aims to make comparable the true state of their nation’s wealth and the sustainability of its growth. flowers.gif Continue reading “New sustainability indicator revealed at RIO+20”

New IEA report stresses benefits of clean energy

Probably this is not news to most of our readers, but a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) this week shows how a shift to clean and renewable energy more than pays for itself.

The Energy Technology Perspectives 2012 (ETP 2012) points out that several technologies are ready to be implemented and to transform our current energy system. They could reduce carbon emissions, enhance energy security and generate a huge investment return, says the IEA and emphasizes need for decisive policy action now. Such benefits can be unlocked between now and 2050. Continue reading “New IEA report stresses benefits of clean energy”

REN21 Renewables 2012 Global Status Report Launched!

The 2012 edition of REN21’s Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) was launched today together with its sister publication UNEP’s Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment (GTR). First released in 2005, REN21‘s Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) has grown to become a truely collaborative effort of over 400 contributors and reviewers, and is today the most frequently referenced report on renewable energy market, industry and policy trends. The findings in the 2012 GSR speak to the cumulating effect of steady growth in renewable energy markets, support policies and investment over the past years.

Continue reading “REN21 Renewables 2012 Global Status Report Launched!”