Tipping Points To Net Zero, Smarter Train Tracks And Greenland’s Accelerating Melt

This week’s Current Climate, which every Saturday brings you the latest news about the business of sustainability. Sign up to get it in your inbox every week.

Ancient Greek mathematician and engineer Archimedes is said to have one said, “Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world” – highlighting the power of simple machines to magnify effort. This principle is limited to ancient Greece. This week, a report presented to the World Economic Forum meeting at Davos argues that there are points like this that can accelerate the world’s transition to an economy that’s built around more sustainable principles in order to slow climate change. The researchers behind the report identified three potential “tipping points” that can be pushed in order to accelerate some of these changes.

The first is the transition to electric vehicles, as “government policies and better infrastructure increasingly [are] making electric vehicles more attractive than petrol and diesel cars,” according to a press release around the report. A second tipping point is swapping out methods of producing ammonia for fertilizers in a manner that’s more sustainable, which the researchers say could have a side benefit of bringing down the costs of green hydrogen. The third tipping point is moving towards more alternatives to animal-based proteins, which could help reduce emissions from livestock farming and slow down rates of deforestation. All of these areas, the report argues, can produce ripple effects that reach further into the economy in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“This non-linear way of thinking about the climate problem gives plausible grounds for hope,” the report’s lead author aid in a statement. “The more that gets invested in socioeconomic transformation, the faster it will unfold – getting the world to ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions sooner.”

The Big Read

Greenland Ice Sheet Warmest In At Least 1,000 Years As Scientists Warn Melting Ice Will Accelerate Sea-Level Rise

Recent temperatures in Greenland’s ice sheet—one of the primary culprits behind rising seas—were the warmest they’ve been in at least 1,000 years, according to a new report, as scientists warn the melting of Greenland’s ice could threaten coastal communities around the world.

Read more here.

Discoveries And Innovations

Startup Wingardium Energy is building wind turbines that double as chargers for electric vehicles.

Israel-based startup Steakholder Foods is working with Umami Meats of Singapore to develop 3D-printed structured eel and grouper products made from cultivated cells rather than animals..

Human-caused light pollution has made the night sky nearly 10% brighter each year, according to new research, obscuring astronomical observations and posing a threat to migrating birds that rely on the position of stars and the moon to travel.

Nearly two-thirds of coral reef shark and ray species worldwide are threatened with extinction, reports a new study.

Sustainability Deals Of The Week

Durable Batteries: California-based Noon Energy has raised a $28 million series A round, which is geared towards growing its team and accelerating the commercialization of its carbon-oxygen battery for long-term energy storage.

Carbon Removal: Financial services firm Rothschild & Co has entered into a multi-year agreement with French startup NetZero to purchase carbon credits for NetZero’s biochar, which sequesters carbon by being mixed with topsoil, which also reduces the need for fertilizers in agriculture.

Electrification: The city of San Jose has entered into a $489,000 contract with BlocPower to electrify 250 residential buildings.

On The Horizon

Last week, areas of Northern California featured days worth of rainfall and high winds, causing large amounts of damage to the area. And if sea levels continue to rise, it’s likely that more storms are in the works for the region, according to new research published this week.

What Else We’re Reading This Week

Climate misinformation ‘rocket boosters’ on Musk’s Twitter (AP)

Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians unite in support for Apache fight to save Oak Flat (Religion News)

Many popular carbon offsets don’t actually counteract emissions, study says (Popular Science)

Green Transportation Update

When it comes to moving people and goods, even all-electric vehicles can’t match the environmental benefits of trains. And when you think “advanced rail technology,” bullet trains or magnetic-levitation systems might come to mind. But what about the steel rails freight and passenger trains run on? It turns out that machine learning, big data collection and voice-recognition tools that have transformed manufacturing, cars, retail and social media are also being leveraged to make vital rail operations safer and much more efficient.

The Big Transportation Story

Cheap, Utilitarian Electric Cars Would Trigger Big Sales Without Subsidies

Dozens of new electric vehicles models are rolling out but most of them are still too pricey for most carbuyers. What if automakers slashed EV prices, weight and battery size and concentrated on the short-range applications electric cars do best?

Read more here.

More Green Transportation News

Can California’s Grid Handle 12 million electric cars? (Cal Matters)

The 2024 Corvette E-Ray Brings The First Electrification To Chevrolet’s Sports Car

The red-state backlash against electric vehicles is incoherent — and gaining steam (The Verge)

Study: London’s LTNs Reduce Motor Traffic On Residential Streets But Not Main Roads

Want To Buy An EV? Warning: Charging Stations Are (Often) Broken

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 Review: The Pinnacle EV From Mercedes Benz

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Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alanohnsman/2023/01/21/current-climate-tipping-points-to-net-zero–smarter-train-tracks-and-greenlands-accelerating-melt/