In the spotlight
Clean energy is now a hot investment
Only five of 25 categories of stimulus spending had both positive climate impact and a high multiplier effect, the report said, meaning most recent stimulus measures either hurt the climate or helped the climate without spreading wider benefits, such as lasting jobs.
Covid-19 is a product of our unhealthy relationship with animals and the environment
Our exploitation of animals and the environment has contributed to pandemics, including the current Covid-19 crisis. Wildlife trafficking, the production of animal-based medicines, factory farming, and the destruction of critical habitats all can create enabling conditions for viruses to spill over from their animal hosts into humans.
Green hydrogen’s time has come, say advocates eying post-pandemic world
Green hydrogen was pushed to the fore last week when Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, said the technology was “ready for the big time” and urged governments to channel investments into the fuel. Some countries, including the Netherlands, Australia and Portugal, have already begun investing in the technology.
The EU’s “Green Recovery” could reward high polluters. Good data is crucial to prevent this
As Europe plans its recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, many of its leaders are insisting on a “Green Recovery” that would insure Europe continues to move forward on a sustainable path to carbon neutrality by 2050.
Working from home after the crisis. The coronavirus crisis has compelled workers around the world to work from home. Global air quality has been transformed as a result. When the crisis has passed, will those who can work from home still be allowed to?
Germany is gradually reopening public life after weeks of coronavirus-prompted restrictions. It follows European neighbors like Austria and Denmark in doing so, and other countries further ahead on the coronavirus timeline such as China. Other countries are watching as they plan similar moves.
Agriculture & Environment
World Migratory Bird Day: flying for survival
Flying on empty. Habitat loss is by far the biggest threat facing birds. Intensive farming and deforestation are making it harder for long-distance fliers to find the shelter and food they need to build strength for their taxing migration. Take the golden-winged warbler.
Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon surges in April
Destruction in Brazil’s portion of the Amazon increased 64% in April, compared with the same month a year ago, according to preliminary satellite data from space research agency INPE. In the first four months of the year, Amazon deforestation was up 55% from a year ago to 1,202 square kilometers (464 square miles), according to the INPE data.
Future energy: zero-carbon heating
Could heat pumps replace gas in our homes? Fifty years ago, natural gas transformed homes with instant heat and hot water. But the days of gas and other fossil fuels dominating domestic fuels may be numbered. Rapidly evolving policy in the EU is searching for technologies to speed up electrification and decarbonization.
Why climate activists aren’t celebrating historic emissions cuts
Carbon emissions are set to fall by historic amounts this year, but environmental advocates aren’t celebrating. Instead, they are zeroing in on a new battle: putting green conditions on the trillions in stimulus funds governments around the world are pumping into their economies to help them recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Transport & Energy
Arab states are embracing solar power
Two millenia after the ancient Egyptians dropped their solar deity, Ra, their descendants are rediscovering the power of the sun. In the southern desert, half an hour’s drive from Aswan, Egypt is putting the finishing touches to Benban, one of the world’s largest solar farms.
Low energy taxes keep electricity prices in Malta among cheapest in EU
Low energy taxes in Malta meant that households paid the fourth cheapest price for electricity in the EU last year, figures out today show. The average price of electricity in Malta stood at €13.10 per 100kWh in the second half of 2019, according to Eurostat. The price is inclusive of taxes.
Largest decrease in CO2 emissions from energy use in EU registered in Estonia in 2019
The highest decrease in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion in the European Union in 2019 was registered in Estonia at 22.1 percent, data made available by Eurostat shows.
Discover China: self-driving taxi service promotes smart travel
Liu Xinlin, 22, experienced her first ride in a self-driving taxi in Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan Province. “The taxi drove very smoothly by itself, and the safety supervisor and technician sitting in the front basically didn’t have any manual control of it,” said Liu after a 10-minute-long test ride.
Coronavirus: robot dog enforces social distancing in Singapore park
A robot dog is patrolling one of Singapore’s parks as part of coronavirus-related trial. The machine is fitted with a camera to monitor how busy Bishan-Ang Moh Kio Park becomes. It also carries a loudspeaker to broadcast social-distancing messages.
Experts knew a pandemic was coming. Here’s what they’re worried about next.
You might feel blindsided by the coronavirus, but warnings about a looming pandemic have been there for decades. Government briefings, science journals and even popular fiction projected the spread of a novel virus and the economic impacts it would bring, complete often with details about the specific challenges the U.S. is now facing.
Food & Health
Coronavirus: the week explained
Welcome to our weekly roundup of developments in the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to pose new political, scientific and personal challenges around the world. As the UK is among several countries moving towards the lifting of some restrictions, it remains under pressure to deliver enough tests – and the role of scientific advisers has come under renewed scrutiny.
Coronavirus: a food safety database to fight fake news
An easy-to-read database containing good practices, insights and ‘science approved’ guidelines to offer the world of research, businesses and consumers proper information on food safety and combat fake news during the COVID-19 emergency. This is the objective of the research infrastructure METROFOOD-RI (Infrastructure for Promoting Metrology in Food and Nutrition).
Coronavirus: vitamin D and a diet rich in oily fish, dairy and liver can help boost your immune system to fight disease
People should also consider taking vitamin C and D food supplements to help fight infection, particularly if their diet is lacking in nutrition, according to Chris Elliott, professor of food safety at Queen’s University Belfast.
Homemade food producers take on bureaucrats who shut them down
Lydia Gessele is a single mother of three who raises chickens on her farm in North Dakota. She uses those chickens to make a homemade chicken noodle soup that she donates to local charities. Last year she would have been able to sell that chicken soup, and any of her other delicious meals she made like lasagna or the Midwest favorite tater tot hot dish.
Science policy & Communication
Dangerous ‘plandemic’ conspiracy video is spreading—How can it be stopped?
Dangerous conspiracy video “Plandemic” continues to spread, despite the efforts of platforms such as Facebook and YouTube to stop it. The video, which features a known anti-vaxxer, Judy Mikovits, started spreading on social media on May 4. Since then, platforms including Facebook and YouTube have been struggling to remove the film as it racked up millions of views.
Transition to net-zero will help prevent disruption becoming the new normal
Alongside the transition to a climate neutral economy, Europe faces other transformative forces – or megatrends – that could drastically affect the economy and labour markets if not managed properly, writes Eliot Whittington. Eliot Whittington is Director of the European Corporate Leaders Group.
Green Deal is the “Motor for the recovery” for Europe
The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated last week that the European Green Deal “will be our motor for the recovery.” The Green Deal proposes to ensure a climate neutral Europe by 2050 with investments of over €1 trillion ($1.1 trillion) over 10 years in a variety of areas including renewable energy production, recycling, biodiversity, building renovation, agriculture, transportation, economic support for transition in areas dependent on fossil economy, and research & development.
Cities and regions need to switch to a low-emission transport system
The Green Deal and the role of cities and regions in the switch to cleaner transport was the focus of discussion in a joint meeting between the European Parliament’s Committee for Transport and Tourism (TRAN) and the Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) of the European Committee of the Regions.