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EVs to be the main car on the world’s roads

EVs are IN, ICE vehicles are OUT


EV mandates

In the near future, there will be laws implemented mandating sales of electric vehicles (EVs), and the phase-out of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, in many countries, states, and cities throughout the world. Unfortunately, current global roads and fuel infrastructure are built for petrol; ICE vehicles that have historically relied on gasoline.

However, EVs, plug-in EVs, and hybrids have made their way successfully into the global market. EVs have dropped in price with lithium ion batteries getting cheaper and more efficient. Globally, EVs have developed a considerable market share of vehicle sales in many countries. Now sales of EVs are mandated in many countries, with the implementation of these mandates right around the corner. However, there is still no complete infrastructure developed for the continual charging of EVs that will completely rely upon electricity in most countries.


Seventeen countries have taken varying types of action, from soft targets to strong commitments, to phase out Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles and increase the number of Electric Vehicles (EVs).  FROM: theclimatecenter.org/actions-by-countries-phase-out-gas


The EU wants to phase out gas car sales by 2035, and many other countries have announced similar plans. Norway plans to ban sales of gasoline vehicles by 2025 (currently 60% of new car sales are electric). Germany‘s upper house of legislature passed resolution to only approve emission-free cars for use on the roads by 2030. France plans to ban sales of gasoline vehicles by 2040. [full list below]

Amsterdam: no ICE vehicles will be allowed in city center after 2030.

Brussels: planning to largely ban gasoline powered vehicles from operating in the city by 2035.

Bristol: may be the first city to ban diesel vehicles from entering the city center.

Hong Kong: plans to phase out all gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2030 or 2040.

FROM: coltura.org/world-gasoline-phaseout


France is a great example of a national government that incentivizes EV sales; and incentivizes EVs and efficient vehicles with lower emissions. Crit’Air in Paris is one of the largest pioneering programs in a major world city to mandate compliance with emission standards for vehicles (in this case, European emissions standards). After successful implementation in Paris, Crit’Air policies now cover about 28 permanent zones in France… FROM>>> Curbing Auto Emissions to Create Cleaner Air with Crit’Air


Please see this article on>>> the rise of EVs in Oslo, Norway. The share of fully electric vehicles on Oslo’s roads is over 15% (with hybrids included, the number is higher); and the majority new car sales in Oslo are hybrids, plug-in electric vehicles (EVs), or 100% EVs. Over half of new car sales are EVs; and when hybrids are added in, internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles account for only 15% of new vehicle sales in Oslo.


California is the first state in the [US] to commit to [EV only sales by 2035], but could serve as a spark for other states to follow, given its size and historic leadership on regulatory issues. Seventeen countries including France, the U.K. and Germany have adopted goals to phase out internal combustion passenger cars.   FROM:  wsj.com/california-to-ban-sales-of-new-gas-powered-cars-starting-in-2035


Develop electric vehicle infrastructure

What will be done to develop electric vehicle infrastructure that will be required on the road as early as 2030 in some countries and cities? There are many questions to be considered when the EV is required to be more present on city roads, even if it is simply within a certain length of city limits. With cars that will only run on electrical energy, there must be significantly additional EV charging stations developed in world cities.

EV charging stations must be developed to be ubiquitous in some cities, and plentiful in most vehicle-heavy cities worldwide. When ICE phase-out laws begin to be implemented in world cities, there will be a much greater need to have gas stations updated and/or replaced. There is definitely a question of what that will take.

While this question exists, even common vehicle manufacturers, like GM, VW, and Toyota, are drastically increasing their production of EVs. One improvement that is expected to come with the requirement of EVs or hybrid vehicles, is lower lithium ion battery cost. While the high cost of this item has for about the last ten years has made some drivers reluctant to purchase the most popular hybrids, this will likely help improve motivation to follow these coming regulations.

There is the potential for the rebates on EVs to increase significantly as the time limit for the new driving requirement approaches. While it may also be a bit of a challenge to receive financing on these often-expensive cars, there will now most likely be incredibly larger rebates for consumers, helping to draw more drivers to the side of environmentally friendly driving.


Gasoline car phase-outs
Map FROM: coltura.org/world-gasoline-phaseouts

Austria seeks to to phase out registrations of new gas vehicles by 2027.

British Columbia: legislation passed to ban sales of new gasoline cars by 2040

Denmark: plans to ban gasoline vehicles by 2030, and hybrids by 2035; has called on the European Union to expressly permit member states to enact 2030 bans.

Egypt: working on plan to have only electric vehicles by 2040

France: plans to ban sales of gasoline vehicles by 2040

Germany: Bundesrat (upper house of legislature) passed resolution to only approve emission-free cars for use on the roads by 2030.

Iceland: plans to ban registration of new fossil fuel vehicles starting 2030; Reykjavik is eliminating half its gas stations by 2025.

India: set a target of 100% electric vehicles by 2030, and is considering a ban on gas-powered 2- and 3-wheeled vehicles by 2025.

Ireland: legislation proposed to only allow sales of zero emissions vehicles starting 2030

Israel: plans to ban sales of new gasoline and diesel vehicles after 2030

Japan plans to ban sales of new gasoline-only vehicles by 2035.

Korea: contemplating banning sales of new gas vehicles by 2035

Netherlands: all new cars must be emissions-free by 2030; Amsterdam is banning all gasoline/diesel vehicles from its streets by 2030

Norway: The Norwegian Parliament has decided on a national goal that all new cars sold by 2025 should be zero-emission (electric or hydrogen).

Portugal: plans to stop selling new gasoline vehicles by 2040

Quebec: phasing out sales of new gas cars by 2035

Spain: plans to ban the sale of vehicles running on fossil fuels by 2040

Sweden: plans to ban sales of gasoline cars after 2030

UK: plans to ban sales of purely gasoline or diesel vehicles by 2030; Scotland: plans to phase out sales of new gasoline vehicles by 2032.

FROM: coltura.org/world-gasoline-phaseout


please also see:

Solutions to fossil fuels

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Putting a Price on Carbon

Pricing Carbon


Carbon Markets

Carbon cap and trade systems are regulatory policies in which countries, provinces, states, and even cities, set a limit (a cap) on the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) industries/ power plants can emit. Carbon pricing plans incorporating an emission trading system (ETS) are commonly referred to as carbon cap & trade systems in the U.S, although the term also applies to similar systems in Europe, as well as elsewhere globally where an ETS is legislated for any administrative area. [In this article, we will treat cap and trade systems and ETS as synonymous].

Utilities and industries in areas where cap and trade legislation have been mandated are subject to an ETS; which is the regulatory system that details what limits for GHGs industries have, and the value of carbon permits. Carbon-intensive industries that are considered for inclusion in emission trading systems include fossil fuel power plants & oil/ gas refineries (always included in carbon pricing systems). Other possible inclusions in ETS legislated across the world include fossil fuel intensive product manufacturing companies, and/ or cement and steel manufacturing industries, and/or transportation sectors that rely on fossil fuel energy (such as long-haul shipping including heavy trucking, ocean freight shipping, & aviation).

Governments may either “grandfather in” GHG allowances (essentially give away permits based on past GHG production), or auction permits off. Carbon pricing has a few purposes that benefit people generally; it can be used for the public good through encouraging/ increasing sustainability measures such as renewable energy projects and energy efficiency projects.

The primary function of carbon pricing is to lower GHGs, fight climate change, and therefore benefit all of humanity. An ETS, and/ or a carbon tax, makes using dirty fossil fuels more­ expensive, thereby encouraging utilities and industries to reduce consumption of fossil fuels and increase energy efficiency. An ETS and/ or a carbon tax also makes renewable energy a more attractive option than fossil fuels economically (adding economic benefits to the environmental benefits of renewable energy).

In an ETS that does use auctions, auctions for carbon permits (one carbon permit is usually = to 1 metric ton of CO2)  establish a price on carbon. ETS with auctions are much more effective than systems where carbon credits are just ‘grandfathered in”. The cost of carbon permits, or GHG emission permits, is essentially the price of carbon in these systems. As GHG emission permits are auctioned off, a price on carbon is established.

Companies can also keep carbon credits for future use in trading, or for their own allowances. For companies that run over their GHG emissions limits and don’t cover their allowances, a fine is often imposed. Carbon cap and trade systems are usually designed to adjust the cap annually and limit GHGs, gradually reducing the allowable limit of GHG pollution for those industries targeted by the cap and trade system.


Carbon Offsets

Carbon Offsets are a vital part of making ETS work; allowing companies to invest in international sustainability projects in order to fulfill their GHG reduction obligations. There are trades that offset GHG emissions in cap & trade systems; such as trades for credits with companies that have, or invest in – forestry projects, renewable energy, energy efficiencygreen building, and sustainable transit projects. Sanctioned GHG offsets also include investment in reforesting or projects that work to limit deforestation or trades with companies that have livestock projects that incorporate sustainable practices, or with companies that invest in carbon capture and storage (CCS) or other carbon sequestration measures.

To make cap and trade systems even more effective, there should be even more offset credits allowed in these systems for trades with companies that implement GHG emission saving renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies such as: solar and wind farms and other renewable energy projects, CCS, integrative gasification combined cycle (IGCC), anaerobic digestion (AD), combined heat and power (CHP), etc…

Carbon offsets can be purchased by individuals, non-profit organizations, and private businesses of every size, from small businesses to large international companies, and even governments; in order to lower their net carbon footprint and/ or in order to support sustainability efforts worldwide. Carbon offsets help balance out global GHGs and other environmental degradation; for instance, damage to the environment wrought by companies that commit deforestation, and companies that are reliant on fossil fuels, are a partial solution to the deforestation problem.

Carbon offsets for reforestation, planting trees, and other conservation projects provide fossil fuel intensive companies with “nature-based” offsetting solutions. Trees, plants, and wilderness ecosystems sequester carbon. Ideally, carbon offsets should be valued and calibrated to truly offset the company’s emissions, as reflected in the company’s investment in the offsets.

“Nature-based” carbon offsets act as land sinks, optimally sequestering carbon to the degree the company purchasing the offsets is emitting carbon – but, this depends on how the “nature-based” offsets are valued. Renewable energy and energy efficiency projects have the potential to directly lower emissions of the company if the investments are made for the company itself. Otherwise, the carbon offsets are valued as creating “avoided emissions” by investing in a 3rd party company’s renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

In many cases, carbon offsets are purchased by international companies in industries running polluting factories, using carbon-intensive fuel for energy, and manufacturing fossil fuel intensive products; and this often includes companies involved in deforestation. Some offsets often formally offered in emission trading schemes globally include forestry projects (like planting and caring for trees; restoring, maintaining, and protecting forests and their ecosystems), as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency projects worldwide.

The amount of carbon offsets required for a company to purchase in an emission trading system (ETS) is proportional to the amount of pollution, GHGs, released by the company involved in the ETS; and should also be measured by the deforestation that a company commits, and the subsequent effect of that behavior by the company on the environment. However, as of now, most ETS around the world only use the amount GHGs released by companies, not deforestation, as a metric to assess a companies’ responsibility for purchasing carbon offsets. ETS, and other carbon pricing mechanisms (such as a carbon tax), can be mandated by states, provinces, and entire countries.

For some companies, it might make more financial sense and be more cost-effective to make the effort to reduce emissions through emission saving and energy efficiency technologies and/ or expanded use of renewable energy; and then sell their permits to companies that are over their GHG limit. However, usually, most companies tend to buy carbon permits if it’s cheaper to buy them than to try to lower emissions. Carbon permits can be invested in by businesses, industries, or even the public in some regions, via a carbon futures market.


Global carbon pricing markets

Carbon pricing, either as carbon cap and trade systems or a carbon tax, are in effect in over 40 countries and 25 states/ provinces/ cities globally. The largest market for cap and trade is in the EU with the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The EU ETS covers more than 11,000 power plants and industrial stations in over 30 countries, as well as airlines. The primary focus of the EU ETS is to fight climate change by lowering GHG emissions.

The EU ETS remains the largest international trading organization for trading GHG emission allowances. The EU ETS has successfully put a price on carbon, with its system of trading allowances of GHG emissions, and has also watched GHG emissions fall by a few percentage points annually since it began in 2005. The cap, or limit, set on GHG emissions will be, on average, over 20% lower on all power plants and industries by 2020 from 2005 levels (when the program started), as the EU continues to make efforts to reduce pollution.

Clean, energy efficient, low-carbon technologies like CCS, IGCC, CHP, and AD, as well as renewable energy, have grown in popularity throughout Europe, in part, because of the rising price of carbon resulting from the EU ETS. Here’s a helpful chart of carbon pricing for various ETS and carbon tax systems around the globe (carbon pricing is usually based on the basic per unit price of 1 metric ton CO2):

Ranges of carbon pricing worldwide

All countries deal with cap and trade differently. Most have cap and trade for industry and power sectors. For example, South Korea has cap and trade for heavy industry, power, waste, transportation, and building sectors. China has six provinces testing out cap and trade, and along with South Korea, represents a very large carbon market (with just those 6 provinces China is a large market, the entire country represents the single largest carbon market, by far).

The U.K., France, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries Norway, Sweden, and Finland, have legislated both carbon tax and cap and trade programs that regulate a broad swath of carbon-intensive industries. Finland and Sweden’s carbon pricing systems represent a high enough price per metric ton of CO2 to make a significant difference.

Finland’s carbon tax represents the type of carbon pricing needed to make a substantial impact on industries in order to stabilize GHGs, as represented in the global carbon pricing chart seen above of select countries’ price of a metric ton of carbon in their ETS or carbon tax. Over 40 governments worldwide have mandated a price on carbon. Here’s another map of carbon pricing systems around the globe:



carbon markets worldwide

 



The nine-state agreement in the U.S. northeast, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is another major carbon cap and trade trading pact, and is, at least partially, based on the pioneering EU program. These states have auctioned off carbon allowances to industries in RGGI states, and have thereby collected well over $1 billion from carbon cap and trade programs, much of which has been reinvested in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other clean energy programs.

Since carbon cap and trade has started in the U.S. northeast, GHG emissions have steadily dropped. Like the EU, this in part due to investment in clean energy technologies, but also because some companies in the U.S. northeast have switched from dirtier fossil fuels like coal to cleaner natural gas generators in power plants, or to renewable energy.



A few current carbon cap and trade markets are:

EU ETS:

ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/ets


California cap & trade, linked with Quebec – Western Climate Initiative:


The U.S. Northeast region (RGGI):

bostonglobe.com/business/carbon-caps-help-northeast-economy-report-says

STORY – Cap & Trade Shows Its Economic Muscle in the Northeast, $1.3B in 3 Years (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative offers blueprint to all states) – By Naveena Sadasivam, InsideClimate News– insideclimatenews.org/cap-trade-shows-economic-muscle-northeast-13-billion-RGGI-clean-power-plan



 

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Recycling – how we are doing as a global community; waste-to-energy

Recycle to GO GREEN


Effective waste management strategies for cities include citywide recycling programs, circular economy strategies, as well as waste-to-energy programs (discussed below). A simple, straightforward action that benefits the environment positively is recycling, as well as actions such as responsibly treating food waste (as seen in The Food Waste Recycling Action Plan in the UK, described at the bottom of this article). Globally, the scientific community and most governments agree that citizens worldwide must make vigilant, concerted efforts NOW on actionable climate priorities as simple as recycling.

One major step forward many communities of the world have taken is educating the public about, and enforcing, recycling standards. Increased world population, mass production, and mass consumption have led to increased waste. Recycling reduces the global waste problem. Recycling reduces GHGs released into the atmosphere from landfills (due to less waste being sent to landfills), and reduces pollution generated in manufacturing packaging of products. 


Which nations recycle the most globally?

the symbol for the Green Dot recycling program

The top five nations globally for recycling are Germany, South Korea, Belgium, Austria, and Switzerland (as well as the country of Wales, in the United Kingdom. UK recycling and waste management efforts are discussed at the bottom of this article). All of these countries listed above have recycling rates of over 50%, while Germany now has a rate of over 65%.

Germany gained number one status by implementing what is called the Green Dot initiative; a nationwide waste management strategy that mandated packaging standards in order to increase recycling. The German Packaging Ordinance under the Waste Act led to the nationwide passing of Der Grüne Punkt (The Green Dot) recycling system for labeling recyclable packages that meet the requirements. A Green Dot recycling symbol on packaged goods is now standard for many products in Germany.

France also has legislated recycling into national laws, known as circular economy laws – which are being enacted throughout Europe and Asia. In France, 100% of all plastics and 55% of all waste must be recycled by 2025. The EU has legislated similar recycling laws, and banned some types of single-use plastics. Colored recycling bins designating specific recyclable waste types are ubiquitous throughout European countries – for residences, at businesses, and in public spaces.

Recycling in Europe is generally considered mandatory, or at least common practice (read below for specific examples of mandatory national recycling measures). Although recycling is ubiquitous throughout Europe, most European nations have yet to reach the 50% threshold. The below list is of nations nearing, or exceeding, the 55% rate for recycling nationwide.

The Green Dot

In order to get a Green Dot recycling symbol on a package, German manufacturers are required to pay a fee based on the size of the packaging, and the level to which the packaging is recycling-compliant. The fee is then used for the Green Dot recycling process itself. German manufacturers (now also many European manufacturers, as the Green Dot system has spread throughout Europe) have thereby been effectively incentivized to reduce the volume of packaging and to make packaging more easily recyclable.

The Green Dot program encourages companies to produce more minimalistic, innovative packaging; as well as more packaging from recycled materials (that can easily be recycled yet again). Germany also has an effective system of sorting domestic and commercial waste, going hand-in-hand with colored recycling bins for separate types of recyclable waste; to make sure materials are able to be recycled properly throughout the country.

The Green Dot system started operating nationwide in Germany in 1991, and has since been exported, and replicated in one form or another, to 28 European countries and Israel, as well as the creation of a Green Dot partnership with countries in North America. The following European (and 1 Asian) nations are the best at recycling in the world today:

World’s Best Recycling Nations

Zurich, Switzerland

5) SWITZERLAND The Swiss national character places a high value on order and cleanliness – you can pay a fine simply for tossing recyclable garbage in regular trash bins, or even for taking the recycling out on the wrong day – so it’s no surprise they are among the best recyclers in the world.

Switzerland is known globally for sending very little of its waste to landfills; instead incinerating waste in waste-to-energy waste streams to produce renewable biogas, or recycling it. Switzerland is busy creating a culture where it is unusual not to recycle throughout the country.

Fines are routinely  issued in Switzerland for companies, or even individuals, who don’t recycle, and instead, choose to just throw out recyclable waste with non-recyclable waste. The Swiss people place recyclable waste into free, specially designated bags before disposing of garbage; and whatever non-recyclable trash there is leftover goes into separate bags available at a small cost; this strategy has dramatically increased recycling rates throughout Switzerland.

4) AUSTRIA Austria has taken a comprehensive approach to encourage its citizens to recycle. The combination of economic incentives for people and businesses to recycle, the successful implementation of education and training programs, and memorable advertising campaigns have thoroughly convinced Austrian citizens of the value of recycling. These national programs have helped turn Austria into the fourth biggest recycler in the world.

3) BELGIUM – Belgium’s recycling program is considered to be the best in Europe besides Germany (and possibly Austria). Belgium is known for the Flemish commitment to zero waste. The densely-populated Brussels-Capitol Region of Belgium (the nation’s capital, and also the de facto capital city of the European Union), with plenty of Flemish influence, recycles well over half its garbage.

The Flemish part of Belgium (the equally densely-populated region of the country north of Brussels) has the highest waste diversion rate in Europe, with over 70% of the region’s waste being recycled or composted…what’s more; the Flemish economy has grown significantly since 2000, yet the level of waste generation has remained consistently low; usually, economic growth goes hand in hand with a rise in the production of manufactured goods.

With this kind of nationwide manufacturing efficiency and dedication to waste management, Belgium is on its way to a successful circular economy. Belgium, Switzerland, and Austria are three relatively small central European nations, with small economies (especially compared to the #1 recycling country globally – Germany), who continuously outperform many much larger nations when it comes to recycling.

2) SOUTH KOREA – South Korea spends 2% of its GDP on a Green Growth Plan, hoping to deliver environmentally friendly economic prosperity. Its recycling industry is booming, and major companies in South Korea are behind the recycling boom; as a transition to a circular economy in South Korea is underway. Residential and business city blocks have a fastidious recycling system similar to the Swiss model, where recycling is free, but merely throwing items in the trash costs you a small amount of money. Wherever you are in the world, it seems economic incentives are an effective way of convincing people to care about recycling.

The #1 country in the world for recycling is GERMANY, now recycling over 65% of its recyclable waste!


Who Recycles the Worst?

The worst countries worldwide for recycling are Turkey and Chile. Turkey recycles a mere 1% of its total waste. The government of Turkey places little to no importance on the recycling issue. Chile is known for having a bad infrastructure for waste management, and so a lot of illegal dumping occurs.


How Can Recycling Rates Be Improved Globally?

In order to improve recycling rates, it is important policymakers and local decision-makers prioritize citywide systems of ubiquitously available standardized colored recycling bins. This means both installing public recycling receptacles throughout cities, and providing recycling services free of charge to residential areas.

Most people will choose to recycle when it presents no apparent added effort, in order to participate in helping the environment, and help lower municipal waste management costs. The most effective recycling systems use colored bins which designate separate types of recyclable waste.

The more that these types of recycling bins are implemented and used throughout a country, the more successful a country’s recycling effort will become. This includes deploying colored recycling bins at residences, buildings, as well as public spaces, and green spaces.

Unless single stream recycling infrastructure is already in place, incorrectly recycled items create increased cost in the recycling process. In most cases, the multi-waste stream approach to recycling is effective; especially when a colored recycling bin system is consistently used, as seen in cities with a high recycling rate like Curitiba, Brazil.

Creating a penalty for not recycling is also a tool that can be implemented for increased community recycling. For example, it actually costs individuals and businesses in Switzerland to not recycle or have trash tossed in a waste stream not designated for recycling or incineration/ waste-to-energy, and to throw out your trash in a special plastic bag for non-recyclable waste instead.

Additionally, fines are levied for just disposing of recyclable waste instead of recycling in Switzerland. As a result of these policies, recycling rates in the country have skyrocketed. In Denmark, trash disposal is closely monitored and regulated in order to ensure the maximal recycling is done correctly. Germany issues each household and business in the country 5 different colors/ categories of recycling bins. Wales, UK, is an example of a region where fines for not recycling has been an effective measure to increase recycling rates.

Most importantly, city officials need to evaluate the needs of their city. If it is particularly windy, they may need to provide covered bins for residence; if there is constant illegal dumping, they may need to provide more accessible recycling and trash centers. The needs of each community vary so widely that it is impossible to prescribe one generic solution.

The important takeaway is that we all need to be doing something as a global community, to increase environmental welfare; and one of the simplest steps an individual can take for a cleaner environment is recycling.


Information on an innovative recycling program developed in the UK by Wrap.org.uk:

The Food Waste Recycling Action Plan

Working together to improve the capture, supply, and quality of household and commercial food waste, this comprehensive Action Plan sets out a series of actions to

  • Increase the amount of food waste collected;
  • Provide long term sustainable feedstocks for AD – anaerobic digestion [to generate renewable biogas];
  • Share the costs and benefits of collecting and recycling food waste.

Despite the estimated 10 million tonnes of post-farm gate food waste thrown out across the UK every year, only 1.8 million tonnes is currently recycled. Food waste prevention and minimisation will remain a priority but, by working together, all of those involved in recycling food waste, from producers to collectors and processors, have an important role to play in making sure that the maximum value possible is extracted from food that would otherwise be wasted.

The Food Waste Recycling Action Plan is the industry’s response to this challenge. The Action Plan has been designed to help increase both the supply and quality of household and commercial food waste available for recycling.

This collaborative, industry-led approach will help operators of food waste processing plants secure the future growth of feedstock. What’s more, it will enable food waste collectors to maximise the amount of food waste collected, so that collections can be delivered as cost-effectively as possible.”   FROM –  wrap.org.uk/content/food-waste-recycling-action-plan


Waste-to-energy

The above example from the UK is an excellent example of how waste can be used productively to generate renewable energy; in biogas produced from waste with AD technologies. Using AD to produce energy is known as waste-to-energy; along with capturing methane from landfills to use for energy. Renewable biogas can be generated from waste, and this is an especially productive use of food waste.

Waste-to-energy (W2E) through AD is prevalent throughout many European countries; and is common practice in countries such as Sweden and Denmark (for district heating, gas for sustainable public transit, energy for municipal grids, as well as local energy generation for farms and homes) – and especially in European cities such as Copenhagen. Using waste to produce energy is an effective waste management strategy, reducing the quantity of waste the ends up in landfills; and is a particularly great way to make otherwise polluting food waste into a productive source of renewable energy.


Please also see:

Recycling in Curitiba


  1. Which countries recycle the best?

    Germany, South Korea, Austria, Belgium, and Switzerland

  2. What is the #1 measure a country can take to improve recycling rates?

    In order to improve recycling rates, it is important to make recycling receptacles ubiquitously available.

  3. What additional measures can a country take to improve recycling rates?

    Creating a penalty for not recycling is a tool that can be implemented to increase community recycling.

carbon farming carbon footprint carbon neutral carbon neutrality carbon pricing carbon tax clean energy Clean Power Plan climate change climate solutions cogeneration Conference of the Parties cover crops e-bikes electric vehicles energy energy efficiency energy star Freiburg global warming green building greenhouse gas emissions hydrogen hydrogen fuel cells Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change LEED nationally determined contributions net zero greenhouse gas emissions nuclear energy Paris Climate Accord recycling renewable energy reverse osmosis smart grid smart meter solar sources of renewable energy sustainability sustainable agriculture sustainable mass transit United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change urban planning waste-to-energy waste management zero-waste

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Ride-sharing our way to saving the planet

Can carsharing help save the planet?


Sustainable Commuting

Carsharing (a.k.a. ride-sharing) services provide an opportunity to reduce emissions from cars, reduce congestion on roads, and provide economic savings. With customers’ access to low rates on fuel and insurance, as well as the ability to use cars only when they are needed, driving becomes both a minimal cost in a monthly budget; as well as minimal as far as the emissions that take place when driving a car as necessary.

By sharing travel in cars with sharing services, the carbon footprint of the travel is essentially reduced by the number of passengers included in the trip – vs. each individual needing a separate drive. Additionally, many ride-sharing fleets are converting to electric cars.

Two leading carsharing companies include ZipCar and Car2Go (with locations both in the U.S. & around the world), where drivers, sometimes millions of members, work together to access cars as they are needed.

Services like these provide customers the ability to reserve cars, to which they get automated access; until the end of the reservation period, then the car is cleaned and given to the next customer reservation. This works especially well for those who need occasional transportation on business travel and other occasions. For some, it serves as a replacement for rental cars, and for others, it is a transportation source when driving is only an occasional need.

Carsharing involves filling empty seats in cars by pairing drivers and riders with common origins, destinations, and/ or stops. Traffic congestion is lightened, the costs of driving cars are reduced, and the carbon footprint of car travel is reduced with all ride-sharing activities (carsharing, carpooling, ride-hailing).


Ride-Hailing

Ride-hailing services that use mobile apps like Uber and Lyft (also commonly referred to as ‘ride-sharing services‘; and that also offer food delivery & other services) offer much lower fares than standard taxi cabs, mobile apps for ease of payment, and the inclusion of more passengers than in the usual space of a taxi.

People in need of occasional transportation assistance can use these services as well. The use of hybrid and electric cars in carsharing fleets continues to grow, in the millions of cars that are shared in these programs worldwide.


The benefits of car sharing, for society

Less traffic and congestion.
You’re going to spend less time stuck in traffic. You’re going to get to where you want to go, with less risk of a delay.

Lower wear for roads.
Fewer vehicles partially correlates to lower road wear. So we can spend tax money on something else. This might be taking better care of the roads we already have, or improving other public transport services. Or it could be something else entirely.

Less air pollution.
This is a fundamental environmental benefit of car sharing. Fewer vehicles and more modern vehicles will improve local air quality. Cleaner air means a better time for those with certain health conditions. So less tax money would be spent on those suffering from the effects of air pollution, as well as conditions resulting from air pollution.

Less need for parking.
If the volume of traffic reduces, current parking will be more easily accessible. We may want to convert urban spaces from car parks into residences or other businesses.

Development of other transport and mobility infrastructure.
Car share members tend to do walk, cycle and use other modes of transportation more often. This can increase public support for developing infrastructure for these modes of transport. Think bigger pavements and sidewalks, more dedicated cycling paths, more bus lanes.

More fleets of newer vehicles.
Car share vehicles are used more than private cars, so the car share vehicles are replaced more frequently. Newer cars tend to be more efficient, cleaner, and quieter. So more cars on our roads will be more efficient, cleaner, and quieter, than if we had more private cars.

New technology is adopted faster.
As explained above, car share vehicles are replaced more frequently than private vehicles. So if there’s been a technological shift, this can be more quickly integrated into society. The adoption of electric vehicles (and retiring of fossil fuel vehicles) could happen much faster with widespread use of car sharing services.

Better acceptance of mobility as a service.
Car share members feel less need to own vehicles, and are more accepting of mobility services. When automated cars and more efficient transport solutions arrive, car share members are likely to be more accepting.


The benefits of car sharing, for the individual

Reduced cost.
Car sharing enables you to avoid the fixed overheads of car ownership:

  • Monthly payment or capital purchase
  • Depreciation
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance
  • Repairs
  • Annual testing and certification
  • Roadside assistance
  • Fuel
  • Parking

Owning a car requires upfront costs.

You may use the car because you’ve already paid some costs – you’re motivated to use your investment. Aside from fuel, or environmental concerns, there is little incentive to limit your use. But with a car share service, there is often zero or a very small overhead, and you pay per journey. So there is a clear additional cost for every trip, which may motivate you to question its necessity.

Less stressful to manage.
Buying and maintaining a vehicle can be stressful. At best it’s time consuming, and at worst you might get ripped off. You want to get a good deal on your car insurance. And you need to find a trustworthy mechanic. Well, car sharing eliminates all of those risks and hassles.

Health benefits.Car share members typically use other modes of transport more, including walking and cycling. This increases the amount of exercise that someone undertakes, which is great for your health.

Privacy.
It’s not always required, but having the choice to sometimes use a private mode is transport is good. Car sharing provides a method of private transport without the inefficient burden owning a car.

Personal freedom.
Sometimes you just need to rebel, right? Screw the bus timetable, I’ve got plans! Well car sharing gives the option of personal freedom to go where and when you like, without needing to own a car.

Improves access for all income levels.
Not everyone can afford to own a vehicle. The monthly payments may be too high, or the lump sum too much. But car sharing services only require small payments in accordance with how much you use it. This enables access to car mobility for all income tiers.”      FROM   –    brightaroundthecorner.com/mobility/benefits-car-sharing


Project Drawdown offers this summation for the recent rise in popularity of ride-sharing services-

“A wave of technologies has accelerated ridesharing’s popularity:

  • Smartphones allow people to share real-time information about where they are and where they are going.
  • The algorithms that match them with others and map the best routes are improving daily.
  • Social networks are buoying trust, so individuals are more likely to hop in with someone they have not met.”   FROM   –  drawdown.org/solutions
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Carbon tax – a levy on pollution whose time has come

Defining effective carbon taxes

A carbon tax is a levy in countries and regions on: fossil fuel power plants, oil refineries, and/or industries, and/or companies; that use fossil fuels (tax applies directly), or on those that consume energy-intensive goods and services that depend on fossil fuel energy generation (the tax applies indirectly); and emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in the process. An indirect consequence of carbon taxes may ultimately be higher prices for energy and gasoline/ diesel. The relationship between a carbon tax and higher energy prices is arbitrary, as it’s up the the fossil fuel company whether to raise prices for the end-use consumer, take financial losses as a result of the tax, or use more renewable energy and energy efficiency measures to lower CO2 output and thus lower the applicable carbon tax. A carbon tax puts a price on carbon for (at least some of) the cost to humanity and the planet of the use of fossil fuels. The cost of carbon dioxide emissions produced with the burning of fossil fuels is also known as the social cost of carbon. Carbon-intensive industries that could be in carbon tax systems include: fossil fuel power plants (always in carbon tax systems), and/ or industries and companies such as fossil fuel intensive product manufacturing companies, and/ or cement and steel manufacturing, and/or transportation sectors that rely on fossil fuel energy.

This cost cannot be tabulated in exact terms, for it’s the accumulated cost of the damages of the burning of fossil fuels to the environment, damages from climate change, damages to human health, and related costs (negative externalities) of the use of fossil fuels that can only be estimated. The carbon tax itself can be seen as an added fee on the production and distribution of fossil fuels,. The government sets a price per ton on carbon, and then that translates into a tax on oil, coal, and natural gas. This does usually mean higher prices for the end-use consumer for things like gas and electricity, due to higher costs for production and distribution of fossil fuels, and fossil fuel-intensive products and services; in the case of top-down industry carbon taxes.

Businesses and utilities who face a carbon tax then have the incentive to invest more in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other GHG reducing technologies (such as carbon capture); to try and lower their applicable carbon taxes. Another option would be for companies facing a carbon tax to maintain the market price for their goods and services set prior to implementation of the tax, and absorb the cost of the tax. Yet another option, and along with companies’ making an effort to produce cleaner energy, this is a commonly implemented option; higher prices due to carbon taxes may result in higher prices to end-consumers (the carbon tax simply gets passed on to the consumer, allowing the company to keep profits from lowering). Individual consumers then have the incentive to reduce consumption of fossil fuels and fossil fuel-intensive products subject to carbon taxes, switch to electric vehicles and renewable energy (thus avoiding higher prices stemming from the carbon tax), and increase their energy efficiency habits. Revenue from carbon taxes can, in some cases, go to energy efficiency measures, sustainable transportation, renewable energy, and other clean energy projects.

The revenue from carbon taxes can also simply be distributed or refunded to the public through tax rebates or payroll tax reductions (revenue-neutral carbon taxes). With revenue-neutral carbon taxes, higher energy prices may be offset by tax dividend refunds, or tax cuts, of roughly similar value. Carbon tax revenue can be distributed, at least in part (if not completely), as: personal income or business income tax cuts, rebates, tax credits, payroll tax cuts, a “carbon dividend” in the form of a monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, or annual refund; or carbon tax revenue can be used to reduce taxes for the public and businesses in other sectors of the national economy. Carbon tax revenue is sometimes both invested in clean energy projects and given back to the public as refunds.

The principle of mitigating negative externalities (the damage caused by fossil fuels), and having the relative costs of pollution paid for, is the primary purpose of the carbon tax. Who bears the ultimate burden of the tax is a hypothetical question that has a couple of answers. Unless the carbon tax is specifically aimed at consumers, businesses that produce and distribute fossil fuels should at least consider bearing the brunt of the tax. However, in practice, individuals may ultimately end up paying more for gas and on the utility bill, among other fossil fuel related goods and services; instead of the fossil fuel-intensive companies in industries subject to carbon taxes, that haven’t already fully embraced renewable energy and/ or energy efficiency.

A carbon tax is enacted with the goal of lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Sustainable public transit, energy efficiency products, renewable energy, and GHG reduction technologies such as carbon capture and storage, become even greater alternatives as fossil fuel use is penalized; and clean energy is made relatively cheaper. One other benefit of carbon taxes, besides the revenue generated for the public good, and the incentives to reduce fossil fuel consumption and increase clean energy efforts; is the increased attractiveness of the cost of renewable energy, which is made cheaper than fossil fuels.

Carbon taxes worldwide

Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, British Colombia, Canada, and the UK (among other countries and localities) have all successfully implemented a partial carbon tax on some industries, as well as some fossil-fuel-intensive goods and services. Thus far, these countries have not being able to implement a broad, universal carbon tax. Generally, reports of lower greenhouse gas emissions follow the passage of a carbon tax (to the tune of 2-3% annually in most cases). The province of British Columbia, Canada, has reported drops of around 5% annually of greenhouse gas emissions due to its aggressive carbon tax policies.

This is a global map of carbon tax and cap-and-trade systems that are existing and planned for implementation:


carbon markets worldwide


Please also see:

Putting a price on carbon