This factory is growing a new kind of food for cows: a seaweed that reduces their burps

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Cow burps release so much methane that they’re responsible for roughly 5% of global carbon emissions. Changing what we feed them can help. In a new factory on the Swedish coast, a startup called Volta Greentech will soon begin commercial production of Asparagopsis taxiformis , a type of red seaweed that’s never been grown before on land. The seaweed is being farmed because it has a unique ability to fight climate change: When it’s added to cattle feed, the cows that eat it burp less methane, a potent greenhouse gas that’s a major contributor to global emissions. Read Full Story

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President Biden, appoint a fashion czar!

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The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the world’s carbon emissions. It needs to be regulated like other big sectors. President Biden, while your administration is hard at work tackling emissions from the automobile and energy industries, there seem no plans to regulate fashion, which produces 10% of global carbon emissions. American fashion companies are also responsible for a panoply of human rights violations, from COVID-19 outbreaks in factories to relying on slave labor . You have an opportunity to take on this deeply problematic sector by creating a new White House position: It’s time to appoint a Fashion Czar. Read Full Story

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The case for cookie-cutter buildings

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A new system helps architects design buildings with factory-produced parts—making them cheaper and more environmentally sustainable. The way buildings get built is wreaking havoc on the climate. Building materials and construction account for 11% of global carbon dioxide emissions , and that doesn’t include the amount of energy they use once they’re built and occupied. Read Full Story

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CO2 emissions will drop by a record 2.6 billion tons this year, thanks to the coronavirus

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But it’s still only an 8% drop in our massive global footprint. As the coronavirus crisis has grounded planes, shut down factories, and taken cars off roads, global energy demand has plummeted—so much so that CO2 emissions will fall by nearly 2,600,000,000 metric tons this year. It’s the largest drop in energy-related emissions in recorded history, and the equivalent of losing the energy demand from the entire country of India. Read Full Story

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Wood buildings should be a requirement of any climate change policy

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A new meta-study offers the strongest evidence yet that timber buildings can drastically reduce carbon emissions in the construction industry. It’s not as visibly bad as the belching smokestacks of the coal industry or the gas-chugging backups on suburban highways, but the building industry is a major contributor to climate change. From their materials to their construction to their energy needs over time, buildings generate nearly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions . Of that, around a quarter is embodied carbon, or the sum of emissions that resulted in the production, transportation, and use of building materials. What a building is made of can have a huge climate impact. Read Full Story

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COVID-19 lockdowns have led to a 17% drop in daily CO2 emissions

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The recovery can try to make structural changes to preserve these gains without economic devastation—or we can just go back to normal. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced countries around the world into lockdowns, and such halts have led to a 17% drop in daily global CO2 emissions—or 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each day—during the peak of coronavirus confinement measures in early April. But without structural changes in our economic, transportation, and energy systems, researchers warn that the lower emissions are unlikely to last. Read Full Story

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This Al Gore-supported project uses AI to track the world’s emissions in near real-time

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“We intend to trace all significant manmade greenhouse gas emissions and assign responsibility for them.” As the world tries to figure out how to flatten the climate curve—cutting global emissions in half by the end of the decade, and reaching net-zero emissions by the middle of the century—one challenge is how to track current emissions from every power plant, farm, and other source on the planet. A new project called the Climate TRACE Coalition plans to use satellite imagery and AI to track those emissions in near real-time, even if they’re not being reported by the source. Read Full Story

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We’re already past critical climate tipping points. Here’s why we still need to cut emissions now

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If we can keep the earth’s temperature low enough, the effects of what’s coming won’t be as disastrous—even if they’re inevitable. If every country in the world cuts global greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the end of the century—or even if they managed to do it by the end 2020—the planet would still keep warming for hundreds of years, says a new study. Researchers found that humans would have had to stop all emissions sometime between 1960 and 1970 to stop the global temperature and sea levels from continuing to rise. Read Full Story

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This biotech startup is making palm oil-substitutes and omega-3s from carbon emissions

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Both ingredients are usually produced in ways that are deeply damaging to the planet. Now they can be made while lowering our global footprint. Instead of having more carbon go into the atmosphere, making our planet warmer and speeding up the effects of climate change, you might soon be able to eat those emissions. Biotech company LanzaTech has successfully turned CO2 emissions into lipids and omega-3 fatty acids as part of a pilot program in partnership with India’s Department of Biotechnology and oil and gas company IndianOil. Read Full Story

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Unilever’s new nano-factories fit in a shipping container, so they can go anywhere in the world

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Designed to make small batches of products with local materials, the consumer goods giant hopes the new factories can cut down on their footprint by allowing them to make products closer to the source. Inside a 40-foot shipping container parked in the Dutch town of Wageningen, the global base for Unilever’s food and refreshment business, there will soon be a fully-functioning production line for the consumer goods company’s liquid bouillon. By making the product in a shrunken-down space, the company hopes to reduce its carbon footprint, produce less waste, and eventually be able to ship these nano-factories to new spots around the world so they can take advantage of local ingredients. Read Full Story

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