PARIS: A few euros, a couple of mouse clicks and a tree is planted - as air travel is increasingly becoming a source of guilt, consumers and companies are looking for other ways to ease their conscience and reduce their carbon footprint. But as more polluting industries join efforts to offset their carbon emissions, the effectiveness of the approach is open to debate, with some critics suggesting that tree-planting schemes are nothing more than a fig leaf. Once marginal, the offset movement has even reached the arch-enemy of environmentalists: big oil. READ: Commentary: Carbon emissions? Sorry but I will keep flying until someone stops me Shell has ploughed US$300 million into forest plantations to reduce its carbon footprint by 2-3 per cent, Italy's ENI has set an objective of zero net emissions via its forestry investments, and France's Total plans to set up a special "business unit" next year to spend US$100 million annually on compensation efforts. Beyond the grand … [Read more...] about Tree-planting not cure-all solution for carbon emission, say activists
Low carbon footprint in
In the trendier parts of Berlin, cargo bikes are the rage. Locals use the bicycles, which have a wheelbarrow-sized box attached at the front, to do the weekly shop or ferry children around. Because they cut carbon-dioxide emissions, local authorities are subsidising the craze. But the well-intentioned schemes look pricey when you consider how much carbon is abated. One scheme costs the city €370,000 (NZ$613,000) but is expected to reduce emissions by only seven tonnes a year. That works out at over €50,000 (NZ$80,000) per tonne abated. The equivalent figure for schemes that support the sale of low-carbon heating systems, by contrast, is €200 (NZ$330) per tonne. Over 100 countries and 400 cities (including Berlin) have promised to get to net-zero emissions by 2050 or before. Investors and regulators are encouraging companies to do the same. To meet these goals policymakers and bosses will have to pick from a menu of policies, from building wind farms to subsidising low-carbon jet … [Read more...] about What is the cheapest way to cut carbon?
SINGAPORE: In a country where most people do not think twice about buying new clothes, Mr Leow Yee Shiang has not bought a single piece of clothing in the past two years. The 31-year-old civil servant practises what he calls a “minimalist lifestyle”. He rarely shops, and has only bought four items for himself this year – a water bottle, socks, lenses for his sunglasses and a motorcycle plate number. What sparked the decision? Mr Leow said it happened early last year when he was packing his belongings for his return to Singapore from Australia, where he had been living with his wife for two years because of work. I got a bit fed-up as I was packing … There were many boxes. I got so angry at myself that I just started throwing away things. Among some of the items which he threw out included his wedding photo and its frame, as well as the love letters he got from his wife when they were dating. It means that he can now “focus on cherishing” their relationship, he said with a … [Read more...] about The Big Read: Taking the climate fight beyond straws and tote bags — individual actions that matter
OPINION: It's a sign of the times that the Climate Change Commission’s draft report offered welcome respite from Covid-19 updates when it was released last month. This report was quickly followed by another very interesting one from Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton, proposing ways to make New Zealand’s tourism industry more sustainable. Both are well worth a read. It appears that environment-related issues are one of the few topics that can bounce Covid-19 from the lead headlines. For those who tuned out of current affairs during the holiday season, the commission's report is a detailed blueprint for reducing New Zealand's carbon footprint. All New Zealanders have some changes to make, including here at the Asia New Zealand Foundation. READ MORE: 'The Government will not hold back': Jacinda Ardern on how NZ could go zero carbon Japan looking at banning combustion car sales by 2035 NZ rated 'insufficient' on climate action, again … [Read more...] about Entrepreneurial Asia buzzing with green start-ups and ambitious climate change targets
PARIS: Carbon-heavy development in countries part of China's Belt and Road Initiative could render the Paris climate goals unreachable, according to a new analysis on the gargantuan global infrastructure project released Monday (Sep 2). The massive network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks spanning Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe will see trillions invested in new infrastructure across 126 countries. While the Chinese state is putting up a significant part of the cash, the project will also see other national and private-sector investment, and opponents warn of its devastating environmental impact. READ: China's Xi touts more than US$64 billion in Belt and Road deals READ: The Belt and Road Initiative may be a debt trap – for China, a commentary An analysis of the possible carbon footprint of infrastructure development in Belt and Road (BRI) countries said there was a significant risk of the initiative alone producing enough greenhouse gas … [Read more...] about China’s ‘Belt and Road’ risks Paris climate goals: Analysis