CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTIONS: SEPT 14, 2019

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Countries with more female politicians pass more ambitious climate policies, study suggests

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Flight-shaming: Would you change your travel plans to save the planet?

How China’s ‘Belt & Road’ initiative could make or break the Paris Agreement

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Countries with more female politicians pass more ambitious climate policies, study suggests

People worried about global warming often want their leaders to enact ambitious climate policies. A recent study suggests that electing female politicians can help make that happen.

Astghik Mavisakalyan is an economics professor at Australia’s Curtin University. She and a colleague examined the legislatures of 91 countries. They compared the percentage of seats held by women to the rigor of each country’s climate policies.

“We found that female representation in national parliaments does lead countries to adopt more stringent climate change policies,” she says.

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Flight-shaming: Would you change your travel plans to save the planet?

One in seven say they would pay more for travel with lower carbon footprint than airplanes.

Shuchita Husain travels a lot for her job as an international recruiter for one of Canada’s top universities.

Most of her flying is done within North America, but there are quick trips to other parts of the world for events. Husain estimates that she takes more than 40 flights a year.

The 38-year-old mother of two says she would fly less because she’s worried about carbon emissions, but her choices are limited due to cost and time.

“If I want to go somewhere far, I’m limited to an airplane,” says Husain. “I can’t afford to pay into some sort of initiative to offset my carbon footprint.”

But Husain adds that she tries to add a family trip to a work one in an effort to fly less.

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How China’s ‘Belt & Road’ initiative could make or break the Paris Agreement

More often than not, the spotlight for climate action tends to shine on the world’s highest emitting economies. And quite understandably so: China alone accounted for around 27 percent of the total share of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2017, followed by the United States at just under 15 percent and the EU around nine to 10 percent, altogether making up more than half of the world’s emissions. They are the world’s economic powerhouses, after all, able to leverage the largest levels of investment towards driving innovation and clean technologies at scale.

It can be easy, therefore, to miss the pivotal role many other developing countries will have to play in maintaining a habitable climate across the planet. But as a new report shows, the trajectory of more than 120 developing countries set for major infrastructural investment through China’s “Belt and Road” initiative over the coming decades could make or break the world’s Paris Agreement goals.

“This group of countries have at current rates the fastest-growing carbon emissions over the next 20 years of any part of the world, and I think that has been ignored because it is not one place,” study co-author Simon Zadek tells BusinessGreen. He is a senior visiting fellow at Tsinghua Centre for Finance and Development (Tsinghua CFD), one of the organizations behind the report alongside U.K. analyst firm Vivid Economics and U.S. NGO the ClimateWorks Foundation. “I think this report gives a bird’s eye view on this region, which has not been out there in quantitative terms before.”

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