ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE
Marc Brousseau 22, Oct 12 mins
12 mins
The Ritz Herald
A whirlwind of hot ash and embers tore through the Cave Fire in Santa Barbara, CA. © David Mcnew / Reuters
The Lancet Countdown’s sixth annual report tracks 44 indicators of health impacts that are directly linked to climate change - and shows key trends are getting worse and exacerbating already existing health and social inequities

The 2021 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: code red for a healthy future outlines the growing risks to health and climate. These risks exacerbate the health hazards already faced by many, particularly in communities exposed to food and water insecurity, heatwaves, and the spread of infectious diseases. The authors call for urgent, globally coordinated action to mitigate climate change and build a healthier, sustainable future for all.

  • Many current COVID-19 recovery plans are not compatible with the Paris Agreement and will therefore have long-term health implications.
  • Despite the detrimental climate effects, the world continues to subsidize fossil fuels. In 2018, 65 out of the 84 countries analyzed by Lancet Countdown researchers had net-negative carbon prices equivalent to an overall subsidizing of fossil fuels. The median value of the subsidy was US$1 billion, with some countries providing net subsidies to fossil fuels in the tens of billions of dollars each year. The 84 countries surveyed are responsible for around 92% of global COemissions.
  • In 2020, adults over 65 were affected by 3.1 billion more days of heatwave exposure than in the 1986–2005 baseline average. Chinese, Indian, American, Japanese, and Indonesian senior citizens were the most affected.
  • Climate change and its drivers are creating ideal conditions for infectious disease transmission, potentially undoing decades of progress to control diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika, malaria, and cholera.
  • Healthcare systems are ill-prepared for current and future climate-induced health shocks. Only 45 (49%) of 91 countries in 2021 reported having carried out a climate change and health vulnerability and adaptation assessment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for increased international cooperation in the face of global…

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Saildrone Closes $100 Million Series C Funding Round to Advance Ocean Intelligence Products
The Ritz Herald

Saildrone, the emerging market leader in ocean data, ocean mapping, and maritime intelligence solutions, today announced the close of its $100M Series C round, bringing its total funding to $190M.

Led by BOND, the round includes new investors XN, Standard Investments, Emerson Collective, and Crowley Maritime Corporation, as well as…

California Can Achieve World’s First Sustainable Hydrogen Fueling Network
The Ritz Herald

The California Air Resources Board today released an analysis of the California hydrogen fueling network for passenger cars and found that, with the right funding, the network could be self-sufficient by 2030. The report, “Hydrogen Station Network Self Sufficiency Analysis” finds that “hydrogen fueling network…

Red Sea Expedition Reveals Deep Sea Mysteries and an Ecological Treasure Trove
The Ritz Herald

NEOM Co. today announced extensive findings from a joint mission with non-profit ocean exploration organization, OceanX, following the most adventurous assessment of the northern Red Sea to date. The six-week expedition took place aboard the OceanXplorer, the most advanced exploration, research and media vessel ever built. The expedition generated…

Petroteq Explains Their Approach to Combating Carbon Emissions
The Ritz Herald

Nature activists, environmentalists, corporations, and everyday people worldwide are fighting for our planet and impacting climate change. Many companies don’t see environmental conservation as a priority. However, there is one company that chose to deviate from the usual track. Petroteq Energy Inc. is an oil…

3 mins
Congressman Paul Tonko, New York's 20th Congressional District. © AP
The Ritz Herald
Capturing methane not only has climate benefits, it can also be a new revenue stream

At its 15th annual awards event last night, the nonprofit Energy Vision presented sustainability awards to Congressman Paul Tonko of New York, the City of Topeka, Generate Capital, and Glenfiddich/William Grant & Sons, for their achievements in advancing renewable natural gas (RNG) made from organic wastes.

The lowest-carbon fuel available, RNG is made by capturing methane biogases emitted when organic wastes like food scraps or agricultural manure decompose and refining them into RNG. RNG involved no drilling or fracking and has the lowest lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of any fuel available today. When food wastes and manures are the feedstocks, RNG is net carbon-negative over its lifecycle.

“We need to deploy and scale low and zero-emission fuels,” said Congressman Paul Tonko. “There are cost-effective solutions to reduce and avoid methane emissions from farms, landfills, and wastewater treatment facilities. Capturing methane not only has climate benefits, it can also be a new revenue stream. We should be looking to support programs and enhance incentives that turn this waste into an opportunity. The transportation sector will need a diverse set of clean fuels.”

Glenfiddich, the world’s first spirits brand, powers its truck fleet with RNG it…

4 mins
© Getty Images
The Ritz Herald
Decarbonizing industries with connectivity & 5G

A new white paper by MIT Technology Review Insights explores how the use of 5G and other digital cellular technologies can enable the decarbonization of three sectors: energy, manufacturing, and transportation.

The white paper, “Decarbonizing industries with connectivity and 5G,” is produced in association with Ericsson and draws on in-depth interviews with senior executives and subject matter experts from organizations including Scania, Einride, and Emerson. The key findings are as follows:

  • Some of the biggest emitting sectors are interconnected. Organizations in the energy, manufacturing, and transportation sectors extract value from digital cellular networking technology because their operational models and business ecosystems are also based on interdependent networks and use connectivity to increase operational efficiencies. In so doing, they create virtuous cycles of shared data and insights that are already enabling a range of climate-friendly outcomes.
  • Cellular digital transformation increases efficiency—and sustainability. Digital transformation strategies enable organizations in the energy, manufacturing, and transportation sectors to use energy and materials more efficiently, advance circular economy ambitions, and enhance the traceability of their products and services. 5G and other digital cellular technologies are a key part of these strategies: their speed of deployment, lower latency, and their ability to…
Amplify, Beta Offshore, SPB Pipeline Sued Over October 2 Orange County Oil Spill
The Ritz Herald

The Joseph Saveri Law Firm filed a class action lawsuit on October 11, 2021, in federal court in California against defendants Amplify Energy Corporation (Amplify); Beta Operating Company, LLC (Beta Offshore); San Pedro Bay Pipeline Company (SPB Pipeline); and other corporations, on behalf of individuals…

Idahome Solar Makes Transition to Solar Fast and Easy
The Ritz Herald

Environmentally conscious people make their choices based on the belief that even one’s minute contribution to a cleaner planet will make the difference. On top of that consideration, the economics of an electric vehicle or a house solar power installation may tip the balance in favor of a greener…

Alshair Fiyaz Continues Move Toward Sustainability Through Recent Oil Tanker Sale
The Ritz Herald

As 97 percent of high-wealth family offices have begun integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into their investment activities, entrepreneur Alshair Fiyaz’s ALFI Investments has been taking a lead, most recently divesting its final stake in oil shipping on Sept….

Carbon Capture and Storage Gathers Momentum in Response to Rising Climate Ambition
The Ritz Herald

A new climate report released by the Global CCS Institute has highlighted the continuing growth of carbon capture and storage (CCS) worldwide. In 2021, the total capacity of the CCS project-pipeline increased for the fourth year in a row, by almost one third over the previous year. CCS is…

2 mins
The Ritz Herald
Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. © Cameron Smith
Funding will support research opportunities for underrepresented communities and small businesses working on climate change solutions
By / Deputy Editor

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $105 million in funding for small businesses to pursue the deployment of clean energy technologies, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to building a clean energy economy and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The projects range from energy technology and sustainable agriculture to atmospheric monitoring and carbon removal.

“As the backbone of our communities, small businesses have a big opportunity to lead the transition to a clean energy economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This investment will boost innovation, foster the next generation of diverse clean energy leaders from underrepresented communities, and set up our small businesses for success as we transform and strengthen our energy infrastructure to fight climate change.”

This funding is administered by DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT) programs to encourage the participation of diverse communities in technological innovation and facilitate technology transfer between research institutions and small businesses. Under this funding opportunity, small businesses receiving awards can apply for supplemental funding for research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups, including women and those from socially and economically disadvantaged communities.

The DOE’s SBIR and STTR programs fund a diverse portfolio of small businesses, including startups, across technology areas and markets relevant to DOE’s missions to stimulate technological breakthroughs, meet Federal research and development (R&D) needs, and increase commercialization by transitioning R&D into deployment.

This funding opportunity is open to small businesses that have previously received SBIR or STTR grants to provide additional opportunities to compete for funding to develop working prototypes of their discoveries.

DOE awardees have reported over $1.7 billion in sales resulting…

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New York Troops Gear Up to Support Antarctic Research
The Ritz Herald

The New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing is beginning its annual support for National Science Foundation research in Antarctica by sending three LC-130 “skibirds” and 184 Airmen to the southern continent.

The 109th Airlift Wing, which flies the largest ski-equipped aircraft in the world, plays a key role…

U.S. Department of Defense Must Pivot to Counter Climate Change, Official Says
The Ritz Herald

Climate change is happening. The DOD has to understand what’s happening and how to mitigate or adapt to the effects — and then be part of the solution, Richard Kidd, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for environment and energy resilience, told the Defense Writers’ Group today.

Kidd’s appearance comes…

Georgia Tech Researcher Earns $12 Million NSF Grant to Establish Atmospheric Measurement Network
The Ritz Herald

Georgia Institute of Technology Professor Nga Lee “Sally” Ng has earned a $12 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure program to provide high time-resolution (every 1 to 15 minutes), long-term measurements of the properties of atmospheric particulates known…

3 mins
© Alaska Airlines
The Ritz Herald
Alaska announced in April its commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040 with a five-part strategy to decarbonize

Alaska Airlines announced the formation of a new LLC, Alaska Star Ventures, to advance emerging technology that will accelerate the airline’s progress toward net zero carbon emissions.

“To live our purpose and create an airline people love, we must operate every day in a way that cares for both people and the environment,” said Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci. “To do that, we are seeking technologies that will accelerate our mission to build a more sustainable future for the aviation industry.”

For the inaugural investment by Alaska Star Ventures, the company partnered with UP.Partners, an early-stage investor in sustainable, multi-dimensional mobility technologies that are transforming the moving world.

“The future of aviation is a collaborative effort between founders, funders, builders and key stakeholders – like Alaska Airlines,” said Cyrus Sigari, UP.Partners’ co-founder and managing partner. “With transportation as the underlying fabric of society, selective and values-driven investments that move the industry toward sustainable aviation are key. We’re proud to partner with such a mission-aligned group that is launching today: Alaska Star Ventures.”

“We’re proud of our ambitious targets and our legacy of being pioneers, but we also know we can’t fundamentally decarbonize and achieve net zero carbon emissions alone,”…

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Greening the Gray: Fighting Floods With Restoration Versus Riprap

Ducrot / RH
When Hurricane Ida roared to shore in Louisiana last month, a system of flood gates, levees, and pumps largely kept the water out of New Orleans. Natural barriers such as
Wind Energy Can Deliver Vital Slash to Global Warming
The Ritz Herald

Implementing advance wind energy scenarios could achieve a reduction in global warming atmospheric average temperatures of 0.3 to 0.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, according to new research from Cornell University.

“Early action will reap dividends,” said Rebecca Barthelmie, professor in the Sibley School of Mechanical and…

California State University Will Not Make Future Fossil Fuel Investments in University Investment Portfolios and Funds
The Ritz Herald

California State University (CSU) Chancellor Joseph I. Castro announced today that the university will not pursue any future investments in fossil fuels in the university’s three investment portfolios: Systemwide Investment Fund Trust (SWIFT), Intermediate Duration Portfolio (IDP) and Total Return Portfolio (TRP).

“Consistent with our values, it is an appropriate time…

How ‘Ice Needles’ Weave Patterns of Stones in Frozen Landscapes
The Ritz Herald

Nature is full of repeating patterns that are part of the beauty of our world. An international team, including a researcher from the University of Washington, used modern tools to explain repeating patterns of stones that form in cold landscapes.

The new study, published on October…