Mac Studio is far better for the climate than the iMac Pro—even with the display

Mac Studio is far better for the climate than the iMac Pro—even with the display

Enlarge (credit: Apple | Getty Images | Aurich Lawson)

With the new Mac Studio and Studio Display, Apple has essentially told enthusiasts and professionals that if they want higher-performance computing, they’ll need to move on from the 27-inch iMac all-in-one. That means buying two separate products that are made in two separate locations, shipped on two separate planes and trucks and arriving in two separate boxes.

If you’re an enthusiast or pro who is looking to maximize performance while minimizing your climate impacts, that doesn’t seem to be a winning combination. But according to Apple’s environmental reports, the combination of a Mac Studio and Studio Display produces nearly 50 percent fewer carbon emissions over its lifetime than the iMac Pro.

How did that happen?

Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#apple-studio-display, #carbon-footprint, #lifecycle-analysis, #mac-studio, #policy

How to reduce our carbon footprint

Man's hand holding a cardboard sign that says SAVE THE PLANET

Enlarge / Man’s hand holding a cardboard sign that says SAVE THE PLANET (credit: Getty Images)

After the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last month, it’s easy to feel demoralized. With everything else in the news, it’s also easy to focus on threats that are arguably more imminent, like the delta coronavirus variant. But the threat from the climate crisis is increasingly part of our everyday lives—and it’s going to get worse.

As a result of insufficient action over the past several decades, the next 30 years will bring more extreme weather and a temperature rise of at least 1.5° C, no matter what we do. But—and there is a very important but—collective action now will decide whether the future is even worse than the IPCC’s already grim forecast.

“The question now isn’t whether we’re going to avoid this,” says Professor Michael E. Mann, a leading climatologist at Pennsylvania State University who has been a proponent of recognizing and combating climate change. “It’s how bad are we willing to let it get.”

Read 44 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#carbon-footprint, #climate-change, #clothes, #energy-efficiency, #features, #food, #green, #science, #transit

IBM says AI can help track carbon pollution across vast supply chains

A container ship sails off the coast of Thailand.

Enlarge / A container ship sails off the coast of Thailand. (credit: iStock)

Finding sources of pollution across vast supply chains may be one of the largest barriers to eliminating carbon pollution. For some sources like electricity or transportation, it’s relatively easy. But for others like agriculture or consumer electronics, tracing and quantifying greenhouse gas emissions can be a time-consuming, laborious process. It generally takes an expert around three to six months—sometimes more—to come up with an estimate for a single product.

Typically, researchers have to probe vast supply chains, comb the scientific literature, digest reports, and even interview suppliers. They may have to dive into granular details, estimating the footprint of everything from gypsum in drywall to tin solder on circuit boards. Massive databases of reference values offer crude shortcuts, but they can also introduce uncertainty in the estimate because they don’t capture the idiosyncrasies of many companies’ supply chains.

Enter IBM, which has placed a massive bet on offering artificial intelligence services to businesses. Some services, like the company’s Watson health care effort, didn’t live up to the promise. But IBM has refocused its efforts in recent years, and today it announced a new suite of tools for businesses to tackle two significant challenges posed by climate change: emissions reduction and adaptation.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#ai, #artificial-intelligence, #carbon-footprint, #climate-change, #ibm, #life-cycle-analysis, #policy

Index leads $12.2M seed in Sourceful, a data play to make supply chains greener

Supply chains can be a complex logistical challenge. But they pose an even greater environmental challenge. And it’s that latter problem — global supply-chain sustainability — where UK startup Sourceful is fully focused, although it argues its approach can boost efficiency as well as shrink environmental impact. So it’s a win-win, per the pitch.

Early investors look impressed: Sourceful is announcing a $12.2 million seed funding round today, led by Europe’s Index Ventures (partner, Danny Rimer, is joining the board). Eka Ventures, Venrex and Dylan Field (Figma founder), also participated in the chunky raise.

The June 2020-founded startup says it will use the new funding to scale its operations and build out its platform for sustainable sourcing, with a plan to hire more staff across technology, sustainability, marketing and ops.

Its team has already grown fivefold since the start of 2021 — and it’s now aiming to reach 60 employees by the end of the year.

And all this is ahead of a public launch that’s programmed for early next year.

Sourceful’s platform is in pre-launch beta for now, with around 20 customers across a number of categories — such as food & beverages (Foundation Coffee House), fashion and accessories (Fenton), healthcare (Elder), and online marketplaces (Floom and Stitched) — kicking the tyres in the hopes of making better supply chain decisions.

Startup watchers will know that supply chain logistics and freight forwarding has been a hotbed of activity — with entrepreneurs making waves for years now, promising efficiency gains by digitizing legacy (and often still pretty manual) legacy processes.

Sustainability-focused supply chain startups are a bit more of a recent development (with some category-pioneering exceptions) but could be set for major uplift as the world’s attention spins toward decarbonizing. (Just this month we’ve also covered Portcast and Responsibly, for example.)

Sourceful joins the fray with a dual-sided promise to tackle sustainability and efficiency by mapping client requirements to vetted suppliers on its marketplace — handling the buying and shipping logistics piece (including a little warehousing) — and taking a commission on the overall price as its cut of the action.

At first glance it’s a curious choice of name for a sustainability startup, given the fact that sourcing (a whole lot) less is what’s ultimately going to be needed for humanity to cut its global carbon emissions enough to avert climate disaster. But maybe the intended wordplay here is ‘full’ — in the sense of ‘fully optimized’.

The UK startup is attacking the supply chain sustainability problem from the perspective of doing something right now, arguing that making a dent in consumer-driven environmental impacts of sourcing stuff (packaging, merchansize, components etc) is a lot better than letting the same old polluting status quo roll on. 

However, given all the unverifiable ‘eco’ marketing claims being attached to products nowadays — or, indeed, other forms of flagrant ‘greenwashing’ (like bogus carbon offsets) that are cynically trying to convince consumers it’s okay to keep consuming as much as ever — there are clearly pitfalls to avoid too.

If you’re talking about packaging — which is one of the products that Sourceful is deeply focused on, with a forthcoming design capability offering that will help businesses to customize packaging designs, pick materials, size etc based on real-time data, all with the goal of encouraging ‘greener’ choices — less really is more.

Ideally, zero packaging is what your business should be aiming for (where practical, ofc). Yet Sourceful’s service will, inevitably, support demand for packaging supply and manufacture. At least in the first blush. So there’s a bit of a conundrum.

“You can put a carbon footprint score on packaging in general. So you could say packaging overall is this amount so the best thing you could do is not use any packaging. But the reality is, for most brands right now, especially for ecommerce, if you’re trying to deliver your product to the customer there needs to be some packaging — and so if packaging is unavoidable in its current form or in another form then the best thing you can then do is optimize that packaging,” argues CEO and co-founder Wing Chan, when we make the point that zero packaging is the most sustainable option.

“Right now we think the best solution is to help you optimize your packaging — the next wave will be around circular forms of packaging. Packaging that you can return back to your courier, packaging that you can reuse in another form. But we wanted to start with what is the current pain point. And the pain point is: I’m buying packaging, it’s very expensive, it’s very time-consuming and if I try and get it to be ‘green’ I either put a marketing spin on it or I don’t know how to actually make it more sustainable.

“But I definitely agree with you that long term we’ve got to think about how do I get the supply chain number as close to zero and then offset whatever’s remaining.”

For now, then, Sourceful is using data — combined with its marketplace of vetted suppliers (~40 at this stage) in the UK and China — to help companies optimize sourcing logistics and shrink their supply chains’ environmental impact.

It does this by putting a “carbon footprint score” on the product choices its brand clients are making.

This means that instead of only being able to claim “qualitative things” — such as that a product uses less plastic or a different type of plastic — Sourceful’s customers can display an actual benchmarked carbon footprint score (in the form of a number), based on its lifecycle assessment of the stuff involved in making up the finished product.

“It’s a lifecycle view,” says Chan. “For example if you take packaging we look at the box, we look at what is the cardboard material, where does it come from, how far has it travelled, what type of material is it, how much material gets used, how is then transported — for example is it a manufacturer in Asia all the way to the UK — so we get an overall score. So rather than it just being comparing paper and plastic we actually help the brands to see an overall quantitive outcome.”

“We’ve built the [software] engine that allows you to make choices and see the actual output — so, for example, if you make your box bigger what does that actually do to your carbon footprint score?” he adds.

Sourceful has an internal climate science team to do this work. It is also building on publicly available data sources, per Chan — such as ecoinvent (“the market standard based data”) — but he says the public data available isn’t up-to-date, saying it’s also therefore working with researchers to update these key sources with the last five years of data.

It wants the protocol it’s devised for scoring carbon footprint via this lifecycle assessment to become a universal standard. Hence it’s currently going through an ISO certification process — hoping to have that in place before the planned public launch of its platform in Q1 next year.

“There’s two ISO standards for doing a lifecycle assessment and normally you’d get ISO approval for a specific product but we’re getting ISO approval for the whole methodology — essentially the platform that we’ve built,” explains Chan. “There’s an independent panel of people, from universities, from other consultancies, who will be reviewing this as part of that ISO review — that’s why it’s so important to us that we’re doing that.”

The vetting of the suppliers on its marketplace is something Sourceful is doing entirely by itself, though — without any outside help. So its customers still need to trust that it’s doing a proper job of monitoring all the third parties on its marketplace.

But, on this, Chan argues that’s since sustainability is core to its value proposition it is incentivized to do the vetting in a more thorough and comprehensive way than any other individual player would be.

“The key thing for us is we combine both the data capture you would do when you’re understanding a supplier — asking all the questions about how their supply chain works and all of the laws entered by the new country — but we’re coupling that with a human visit as well. So we have a team in the UK as well as a team in Asia who actually go and visit the manufacturers. So it’s an extra layer of comfort for the brands that we’ve actually spent the time to go and meet them,” he suggests.

“The second thing is, as part of our marketplace build, we’re understanding how their supply chain works — in order to build the lifecycle assessment we actually understand each stage of their manufacturing process. So we have a much deeper understanding of their way of operating than all of the other platforms would have. So, yes it’s more involved, but we think that gives better accountability and a more accurate outcome.”

“We’re taking [the vetting process] to another level,” he adds. “We didn’t find anyone that was going into the same level of depth as us — so that’s why we’ve done it ourselves.”

Pressed a little more, Chan also tells TechCrunch: “Supply chain risks never disappear but the thing is how much investment are you making to learn more about it? And for us because we’re capturing this data on lifecycle assessment it’s part of that process of understanding the supplier. So rather than it being another cost that we pay to go visit the manufacturer, we see it as part of our data gathering — a key part of the platform.

“So rather than it being a cost to minimize, which is why a lot of companies end up in trouble because they don’t visit [their suppliers] enough, we’re invested in making sure that data is as accurate and up-to-date as possible. And the manufacturers see that because they want to have a score that’s good, they also want to understand where their footprint could be improved. So it’s a partnership, rather than it just being a bunch of tick boxes to check — which is what a lot of the audits are… We’re here to try and understand their process better.”

Zooming out to look at the driving forces pressing for supply chain sustainability, Chan suggests demand for greener sourcing by businesses is being driven by consumers themselves — who are certainly more aware than ever of environmental concerns. And can, to a degree, vote with their wallet by choosing more eco products (and/or by putting direct reputational pressure on businesses, such as via social media channels).

There is some regulatory pressure, too — such as existing sustainability and carbon reporting requirements (typically for larger businesses). Along with the overarching ‘net zero’ targets which governments in Europe and elsewhere have signed up for. So there should be increasing ‘top down’ pressure on businesses to decarbonize.

Chan also points to another swathe of environmental laws coming in — such as those banning things like single use plastics — which he says are creating further momentum for businesses to re-evaluate their supply chains.

Nonetheless, he believes the biggest source of pressure for companies to decarbonize is coming from consumers themselves. So — the premise is — brands that can present the strongest story to people about what they’re doing to reduce their environmental impact — backed up by a certified lifecycle assessment (assuming Sourceful gets its ISO stamp) — stand to win the business of growing numbers of eco-minded buyers, at the same time as netting cost efficiencies by optimizing their supply chains.

(And, indeed, part of the team’s inspiration for Sourceful’s business was to challenge the idea that consumers are to blame for the world’s environmental problems — given the lack of choice people so often have over what they can buy, not to mention the paucity of information to inform purchasing choices.)

“In the absence of government regulation on [lifecycle assessment] we’re actually saying to the brand, you’ve got existing products, we’ve measured the material, production, transport, all of these things — given you a carbon footprint score, and actually when you go and look at alternatives we can quantitatively assess the difference between those options. So rather than just pandering to the latest marketing buzzword you get a quantitive view on that,” he says.

“So what we’ve been showing is you can move to a more sustainable outcome — from a quantitative point of view — but also save money. So we’re tackling both problems. The supply chain itself is not very efficient so we can save money and the supply chain is not very transparent so we can give them better visibility into their actual carbon footprint.”

“Every brand that we’ve met that has been started in the last two years, their founder or their premise of the brand had sustainability involved — it’s such a hot topic that if you start a fashion brand or a beauty brand or food brand you have to have somewhere in your mission statement/founder story about your commitment to sustainability. So we thought that’s where the market is going to be. But actually we saw more established companies had the same view — that their consumers are also asking for there to be change in how they talk about their products, how they understand their lifecycle journey. So actually I think the government drive on regulation is of course important but it’s still far behind and actually consumers are driving more of a change,” he adds.

Sourceful’s offering includes a warehousing ‘managed service’ component — where it’s using a predictive algorithm to power auto-stocking so that brands can store (non-current) inventory in its warehouses (to save space etc) and have the goods shipped to them as they need them.

Being able to source supplies like components or packaging in bulk obviously reduces purchasing costs. But depending on how it’s done, it may also mean you can optimize things like transportation requirements, which could limit shipping emissions, so there are potentially efficiency and sustainability strands here too.

“Sea freight is several times more energy efficient than air freight so if we can organize more shipments to go via sea freight than air then that’s a major win. The[n] if we can fill the container up with different client orders so that you end up with one very full container, rather than lots of containers with half of it empty, you’re also going to save a lot of energy too. And so that’s another part of the journey that we do,” says Chan. “The other thing is because were aggregating orders with the manufacturer — they actually have better utilization as well, which is more efficient for them. So all of these things are really important to driving the overall cost as well sustainability score down.”

“The more we thought about it, the more there are so many parts of the supply chain which haven’t been optimzied,” he adds. “So many times you order 2,000 boxes it comes in these air freight shipments and someone has to courier it to you in one trip — there’s so many places where aggregating and being smarter about data you can save so much footprint.”

 

#carbon-footprint, #carbon-offset, #danny-rimer, #e-commerce, #eka-ventures, #environmentalism, #europe, #fundings-exits, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #greentech, #logistics, #product-management, #sourceful, #supply-chain, #supply-chain-management, #sustainability

Supercritical launches carbon removal offset marketplace for tech firms reach NetZero

It’s a little known fact that the carbon footprint of the technology sector is great than the entire aviation industry (Aalto University and LUT University). At the same time, tech companies (like many others) are generally attracted to carbon offsetting schemes which don’t actually remove carbon from the environment and are often riddled with flaws.

Only carbon removal offsets contribute towards net-zero because they actively take carbon out of the sky. And yet, so far there are very few schemes making carbon removal a focus, largely because only the biggest companies are able to play in this space, partly due to cost and the nascent nature of the technology.

This is where new startup Supercritical comes in.

The startup says its platform can help businesses get to net-zero by measuring their climate impact and selling high-impact carbon removal offsets.

It’s now raised a £2m / $2.7m in a pre-seed funding led by London’s LocalGlobe venture firm. The raise is also significant because the team was that which took Songkick to exit.

Supercritical says its platform assesses a company’s carbon impact, creates an actionable plan for reducing their emissions, and recommends a portfolio of high-quality carbon removal offsets for companies to purchase. It will effectively be building a marketplace of carbon removal projects such as enhanced weathering, bio-oil sequestration, and direct air capture.

Right now these technologies tend to be costly as many are so early in development, but the opportunity is for Supercritical to become a market-maker for these emerging solutions, aggregating demand to help them scale and innovate faster.

The startup already has clients including accuRx, Tide and what3words are already customers. Supercritical is also a member of the TechZero task force, a group of UK tech companies claiming to work toward NetZero Carbon impact.

Supercritical CEO and co-founder, Michelle You, said: “Businesses are rightly suspicious of traditional carbon offsetting options, which do nothing at best and at worst are outright fraud, but most companies lack the time and the expertise to find an adequate alternative. Our mission is to make it possible for any business to start the journey to net zero. Climate action can’t just be the reserve of the world’s biggest companies, and this is a crisis that can’t wait.”

Remus Brett, who led the investment from LocalGlobe, said: “Supercritical is providing a service that is as timely as it is essential. With COP26 approaching, the question of how businesses can meaningfully address their climate impact is a critical CEO issue. We are excited to be backing the exceptional team at Supercritical as they scale the only platform that helps companies focus their efforts on carbon removal rather than offsets.”

The startup is pushing at an open door. To keep warming below 1.5°C – one of the key goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement – at least 8 billion tonnes – of carbon needs to be removed from the atmosphere every year, so the voluntary carbon offset market is set to be worth at least $100bn by 2030, and that’s inside nine years.

#air-pollution, #articles, #carbon-dioxide, #carbon-footprint, #carbon-offset, #europe, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #greenhouse-gases, #london, #renewable-energy, #songkick, #tc, #united-kingdom

Tech leaders can be the secret weapon for supercharging ESG goals

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors should be key considerations for CTOs and technology leaders scaling next generation companies from day one. Investors are increasingly prioritizing startups that focus on ESG, with the growth of sustainable investing skyrocketing.

What’s driving this shift in mentality across every industry? It’s simple: Consumers are no longer willing to support companies that don’t prioritize sustainability. According to a survey conducted by IBM, the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated consumers’ focus on sustainability and their willingness to pay out of their own pockets for a sustainable future. In tandem, federal action on climate change is increasing, with the U.S. rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and a recent executive order on climate commitments.

Over the past few years, we have seen an uptick in organizations setting long-term sustainability goals. However, CEOs and chief sustainability officers typically forecast these goals, and they are often long term and aspirational — leaving the near and midterm implementation of ESG programs to operations and technology teams.

Until recently, choosing cloud regions meant considering factors like cost and latency to end users. But carbon is another factor worth considering.

CTOs are a crucial part of the planning process, and in fact, can be the secret weapon to help their organization supercharge their ESG targets. Below are a few immediate steps that CTOs and technology leaders can take to achieve sustainability and make an ethical impact.

Reducing environmental impact

As more businesses digitize and more consumers use devices and cloud services, the energy needed by data centers continues to rise. In fact, data centers account for an estimated 1% of worldwide electricity usage. However, a forecast from IDC shows that the continued adoption of cloud computing could prevent the emission of more than 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from 2021 through 2024.

Make compute workloads more efficient: First, it’s important to understand the links between computing, power consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. Making your app and compute workloads more efficient will reduce costs and energy requirements, thus reducing the carbon footprint of those workloads. In the cloud, tools like compute instance auto scaling and sizing recommendations make sure you’re not running too many or overprovisioned cloud VMs based on demand. You can also move to serverless computing, which does much of this scaling work automatically.

Deploy compute workloads in regions with lower carbon intensity: Until recently, choosing cloud regions meant considering factors like cost and latency to end users. But carbon is another factor worth considering. While the compute capabilities of regions are similar, their carbon intensities typically vary. Some regions have access to more carbon-free energy production than others, and consequently the carbon intensity for each region is different.

So, choosing a cloud region with lower carbon intensity is often the simplest and most impactful step you can take. Alistair Scott, co-founder and CTO of cloud infrastructure startup Infracost, underscores this sentiment: “Engineers want to do the right thing and reduce waste, and I think cloud providers can help with that. The key is to provide information in workflow, so the people who are responsible for infraprovisioning can weigh the CO2 impact versus other factors such as cost and data residency before they deploy.”

Another step is to estimate your specific workload’s carbon footprint using open-source software like Cloud Carbon Footprint, a project sponsored by ThoughtWorks. Etsy has open-sourced a similar tool called Cloud Jewels that estimates energy consumption based on cloud usage information. This is helping them track progress toward their target of reducing their energy intensity by 25% by 2025.

Make social impact

Beyond reducing environmental impact, CTOs and technology leaders can have significant, direct and meaningful social impact.

Include societal benefits in the design of your products: As a CTO or technology founder, you can help ensure that societal benefits are prioritized in your product roadmaps. For example, if you’re a fintech CTO, you can add product features to expand access to credit in underserved populations. Startups like LoanWell are on a mission to increase access to capital for those typically left out of the financial system and make the loan origination process more efficient and equitable.

When thinking about product design, a product needs to be as useful and effective as it is sustainable. By thinking about sustainability and societal impact as a core element of product innovation, there is an opportunity to differentiate yourself in socially beneficial ways. For example, Lush has been a pioneer of package-free solutions, and launched Lush Lens — a virtual package app leveraging cameras on mobile phones and AI to overlay product information. The company hit 2 million scans in its efforts to tackle the beauty industry’s excessive use of (plastic) packaging.

Responsible AI practices should be ingrained in the culture to avoid social harms: Machine learning and artificial intelligence have become central to the advanced, personalized digital experiences everyone is accustomed to — from product and content recommendations to spam filtering, trend forecasting and other “smart” behaviors.

It is therefore critical to incorporate responsible AI practices, so benefits from AI and ML can be realized by your entire user base and that inadvertent harm can be avoided. Start by establishing clear principles for working with AI responsibly, and translate those principles into processes and procedures. Think about AI responsibility reviews the same way you think about code reviews, automated testing and UX design. As a technical leader or founder, you get to establish what the process is.

Impact governance

Promoting governance does not stop with the board and CEO; CTOs play an important role, too.

Create a diverse and inclusive technology team: Compared to individual decision-makers, diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time. Additionally, Gartner research found that in a diverse workforce, performance improves by 12% and intent to stay by 20%.

It is important to reinforce and demonstrate why diversity, equity and inclusion is important within a technology team. One way you can do this is by using data to inform your DEI efforts. You can establish a voluntary internal program to collect demographics, including gender, race and ethnicity, and this data will provide a baseline for identifying diversity gaps and measuring improvements. Consider going further by baking these improvements into your employee performance process, such as objectives and key results (OKRs). Make everyone accountable from the start, not just HR.

These are just a few of the ways CTOs and technology leaders can contribute to ESG progress in their companies. The first step, however, is to recognize the many ways you as a technology leader can make an impact from day one.

#artificial-intelligence, #carbon-footprint, #cloud, #cloud-computing, #cloud-infrastructure, #cloud-services, #column, #energy, #environmentalism, #esg, #etsy, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #greentech, #machine-learning, #open-source-software, #opinion, #sustainability, #tc, #thoughtworks

Vaayu’s carbon tracking for retailers raises raises $1.6m, claims it could cut CO2 in half by 2030

Carbon tracking is very much the new hot thing in tech, and we’ve previously covered more generalist startups doing this at scale for companies, such as Plan A Earth out of Berlin.

But there’s clearly an opportunity to get deep into a vertical sector and tailor solutions to it.

That’s the plan of Vaayu, a carbon tracking platform aimed specifically at retailers. It has now raised $1.57 million in pre-seed funding in a funding round led by CapitalT. Several Angels also took part, including Atomico’s Angel Program, Planet Positive LP, Saarbrücker 21, Expedite Ventures, and NP-Hard Ventures.

Carbon tracking for the retail fashion industry, in particular, is urgently needed. Unfortunately, the fashion industry remains responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, which ads up to more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
 
Vaayu says it integrates with various point-of-sale systems, such as Shopify and Webflow. It then pulls in data on logistics, operations, and packaging to monitor, measure, and reduce their carbon emissions. Normally, retailers calculate emissions once a year, which is obviously far less accurate.

Vaayu was founded in 2020 by Namrata Sandhu (CEO) former Head of Sustainability at fashion retailer Zalando, as well as Anita Daminov (CPO) and Luca Schmid (CTO). Vaayu currently has 25 global brand customers, including Missoma, Armed Angels, and Organic Basics. 
 
Commenting on the fundraise, Namrata Sandhu, CEO, Vaayu, said: “We have only nine short years left to achieve the UN’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and as the third-largest contributor to global emissions, retailers need to take action – and fast. Vaayu is here to help retailers measure, monitor, and reduce their carbon footprint at scale across the entire supply chain – something that I know from my own experience can be complex and expensive. 
 
Speaking to me over a call, Sandhu told me: “Putting the focus on retail basically allows us to automate the calculation, which means in three clicks you can get your carbon footprint right away. That then allows us to really accurate data, and with that, we can basically do reductions specific to the business but using software, rather than any kind of manual intervention or a kind of ‘intermediate’ state where you need to put together an Excel sheet. Because we focus on retail we can automate the entire process and also automate the reductions.”

“We are delighted to be backed by female-led CapitalT who understood us and our vision right from the start. We look forward to developing Vaayu further in the coming months so we can reach as many retailers as possible and help put the brakes on the impending climate crisis,” she added.

Janneke Niessen, founding partner, CapitalT commented: “We are very excited to join Vaayu on their mission to reduce carbon emission for retailers worldwide. The Vaayu product is very scalable and its quick and easy implementation allows for fast adoption. We are confident that with this experienced team, Vaayu will soon be one of the fastest-growing climate tech companies in Europe and the world.”

#berlin, #carbon-footprint, #ceo, #cto, #europe, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #retail, #shopify, #tc, #united-nations, #webflow, #zalando

Cutting out carbon emitters with bioengineering at XTC Global Finals on July 22

Bioengineering may soon provide compelling, low-carbon alternatives in industries where even the best methods produce significant emissions. Utilizing natural and engineered biological process has led to low-carbon textiles from Algiknit, cell-cultured premium meats from Orbillion, and fuels captured from waste emissions via LanzaTech — and leaders from those companies will be joining us on stage for the Extreme Tech Challenge Global Finals on July 22.

We’re co-hosting the event, with panels like this one all day and a pitch-off that will feature a number of innovative startups with a sustainability angle.

I’ll be moderating a panel on using bioengineering to create change directly in industries with large carbon footprints: textiles, meat production, and manufacturing.

Algiknit is a startup that is sourcing raw material for fabric from kelp, which is an eco-friendly alternative to textile crop monocultures and artificial materials like acrylic. CEO Aaron Nessa will speak to the challenge of breaking into this established industry and overcoming preconceived notions of what an algae-derived fabric might be like (spoiler: it’s like any other fabric).

Orbillion Bio is one of the new crop of alternative protein companies offering cell-cultured meats (just don’t call them “lab” or “vat” grown) to offset the incredibly wasteful livestock industry. But it’s more than just growing a steak — there are regulatory and market barriers aplenty that CEO Patricia Bubner can speak to as well as the technical challenge.

LanzaTech works with factories to capture emissions as they’re emitted, collecting the useful particles that would otherwise clutter the atmosphere and repurposing them in the form of premium fuels. This is a delicate and complex process that needs to be a partnership, not just a retrofitting operation, so CEO Jennifer Holmgren will speak to their approach convincing the industry to work with them at the ground floor.

It should be a very interesting conversation, so tune in on July 22 to hear these and other industry leaders focused on sustainability discuss how innovation at the startup level can contribute to the fight against climate change. Plus it’s free!

#algiknit, #alternative-protein, #articles, #bioengineering, #biotechnology, #carbon-footprint, #ceo, #cultured-meat, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #jennifer-holmgren, #lanzatech, #manufacturing, #meat, #orbillion-bio, #tc

After raising $10M, Ryte launches ‘Carbon KPI’ to measure the CO2 footprint of web sites

As we become more and more aware of the kind of impact we are having on this planet we call our home, just about everything is having its CO2 impact measured. Who knew, until recently, that streaming Netflix might have a measurable impact on the environment, for instance. But given vast swathes of the internet are populated by websites, as well as streaming services, then they, too, must have some sort of impact.

It transpires that a new service has identified how to gauge that, and now it’s raised venture capital to scale.

Ryte raised €8.5 million ($10 million) in a previously undisclosed round led by Bayern Kapital out of Munich and Octopus Investments out of London earlier this year for its Website User Experience Platform.

It has now launched the ‘Ryte Website Carbon KPI’, which claims to be able to help make 5% of all websites carbon neutral by 2023.

Ryte says it worked with data scientists and environmental experts to develop the ability to accurately measure the carbon impact of clients’ websites. According to carbon transition think tank, the Shift Project, the carbon footprint of our gadgets, the internet, and the systems supporting them account for about 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions. And this trend is rising rapidly as the world digitizes itself, especially post-pandemic.

Ryte has now engaged its data scientist, Katharina Meraner, who has a PhD in climate science and global warming, and input from Climate Partner, to launch this new service.

“There are currently 189 million active websites,” Ryte CEO Andy Bruckschloegl said. “Our goal is to make 5% of all active websites, or 9.5 million websites, climate neutral by the end of 2023 with the help of our platform, strong partners, social media activities, and much more. Time is ticking and making websites carbon neutral is really easy compared to other industries and processes.”

Ryte says it is also collaborating with a reforestation project in San Jose, Nicaragua, to allow its customers to offset their remaining emissions through the purchase of climate certificates.

Using a proprietary algorithm, Ryte says it measures the code of the entire website, average page size, as well as monthly traffic by channel then produces a calculation of the amount of CO2 it uses up.

Admittedly there are similar services, but these are ad-hoc and not connected to a platform. A simple Google search will bring us sites like Websitecarbon, Ecosistant, and academic papers. But as far as I can tell, a startup like this hasn’t put this kind of service into their platform yet.

“Teaming up with Ryte will help raise awareness on how information technology contributes to climate change – while at the same time providing tools to make a difference. Ryte’s industry-leading carbon calculator enables thousands of website owners to understand their carbon footprint, to offset unavoidable carbon emissions and thus lay a basis for a comprehensive climate action strategy,” commented Tristan A. Foerster, Co-CEO ClimatePartner.

 

#carbon-dioxide, #carbon-footprint, #ceo, #chemistry, #co-ceo, #data-scientist, #europe, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #information-technology, #london, #munich, #netflix, #octopus-investments, #renewable-energy, #san-jose, #streaming-services, #tc

Emitwise raises an extra $3.2M from ArcTern Ventures for its greenhouse gas emissions platform

Emitwise, a startup that claims its AI platform can measure greenhouse gas emissions from companies and their supply chains, has added to its seed funding round by $3.2 million, bringing its total seed funding raised to $6.6 million. ArcTern Ventures led the $3.2m raise. Also participating were Angel investors including Peter Harrison, the CEO of Schroders; Magnus Rausing; and Saltwater (Uber Co-Founder Ryan Graves’ investment firm). Other investors include True Ventures, Social Impact Capital, Lightbird Ventures, and others.

The company claims its platform will automate carbon accounting across a supply chain; identify emissions hotspots; integrate with ERP systems; and complies with auditing and disclosure systems like CDP, GHG and TCFD.

Mauro Cozzi, Emitwise Co-Founder and CEO, said in a statement: “With leaders set to ratchet up global climate ambition at the upcoming COP26 climate summit, there’s never been more certainty amongst corporates and investors: carbon equals cost and risk. A net zero-aligned model is a proxy for profit, efficiency and resilience and we’re committed to helping firms realize the major economic upsides of the transformation.”

Marc Faucher, ArcTern Ventures, said: “Enterprises face mounting pressure from customers, investors, and regulators to disclose accurate environmental data. Emitwise gives a clear line of sight to supply chain carbon which is critical for instilling effective mitigation strategies and incentives. Here at ArcTern Ventures, we believe Emitwise’s software platform is a game-changer that sets new standards in universal carbon footprint reporting.”

Emitwise competes to some extent with other startups in this space including Watersheds and Plan A, which also recently raised a round of funding.

#articles, #artificial-intelligence, #carbon-footprint, #ceo, #co-founder, #europe, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #magnus-rausing, #ryan-graves, #social-impact-capital, #software-platform, #supply-chain, #supply-chains, #tc, #true-ventures, #uber

Musk: Bitcoin is bad for climate (and you can’t buy Teslas with it anymore)

A casually dressed man appears flip during a presentation.

Enlarge / Elon Musk in 2020. (credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / Getty)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Wednesday that Tesla would stop taking bitcoin as payment for the company’s electric vehicles. The change comes less than two months after the automaker began accepting the cryptocurrency. Why the about-face? Musk now says he has concerns over bitcoin’s carbon footprint.

Tesla’s purchase policy wasn’t the company’s only bitcoin-related announcement that has made waves. In February, the electric automaker disclosed that it had taken a $1.5 billion stake in the currency. Cryptocurrency promoters rejoiced at the string of announcements—Tesla’s moves had bolstered the currency’s legitimacy, and bitcoin’s price against the dollar surged over 15 percent in the wake of the disclosure.

But environmentalists despaired—the carbon footprint of purchasing a Tesla with bitcoin was so large that it swamped any emissions savings from driving it. Today, Musk appears to share that assessment. “We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel,” Musk wrote in a tweet.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#bitcoin, #carbon-footprint, #cars, #climate, #cryptocurrency, #policy, #tesla

Boasting a pedigree in business intelligence, Sweep launches a new carbon accounting and offset tool

If businesses are going to meet their increasingly aggressive targets for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their operations, they’re going to have an accurate picture of just what those emissions look like. To get that picture, companies are increasingly turning to businesses like Sweep, which announced its commercial launch today.

The Parisian company boasts a founding team with an impeccable pedigree in enterprise software. Co-founders Rachel Delacourt and Nicolas Raspal, were the co-founders of BIME Analytics, which was acquired by Zendesk. And together with Zendesk colleagues Raphael Gueller and Yannick Chaze, and the founder of the Net Zero Initiative, Renaud Bettin, they’ve created a software toolkit that gives companies a visually elegant view into not just a company’s own carbon emissions, but those of their suppliers as well.

It’s the background of the team that first attracted investors like Pia d’Iribarne, co-founder and managing partner, New Wave, which made their first climate-focused investment into the software developer. 

We decided to invest before we even closed the fund,” d’Iribarne said of the investment in Sweep. “We officially invested in December or January.”

New Wave wasn’t the only investor wowed by the company’s prospects. The new European climate-focused investment firm 2050, and La Famiglia, a fund with strong ties to big European industrial companies also participated alongside several undisclosed angel investors from the Bay Area. In all Sweep raked in $5 million for its product before it had even launched a beta.

Sweep offers users the ability to visualize each location of a company’s business by brand, location, product, or division and see how those different granular operations contribute to a company’s overall carbon footprint. Users can also link those nodes to external suppliers and distributors t share carbon data. 

The effects of climate change are increasing, and companies across industries are motivated to do their part. But today’s carbon reduction efforts are being stalled by complex tools and resources that can’t match the urgency of the threat. By putting automation, connectivity and collaboration at the heart of the platform, Sweep is the first to offer companies an efficient mechanism to tackle their indirect Scope 3 emissions, and turn net zero from a buzzword into a reality. 

Like the other companies that have come on the market with carbon monitoring and management solutions, Sweep also offers the ability to finance offset projects directly from its platform. And, like those other companies, Sweep’s offsets are primarily in the forestry space.   

“Around the world, companies are under pressure from customers, investors and regulators to take action to reduce their emissions,” said Pia d’Iribarne, co-founder and managing partner, New Wave, in a statement. “As a result, we’re seeing unprecedented growth in the climate technology market and we expect it to continue to explode. What used to be an issue confined to a company’s sustainability team is now a front-and-center business objective that has the commitment of the CEO. We invested in Sweep because of their world-class expertise in sustainability and their success in developing state-of-the-art, end-to-end SaaS platforms. It’s the right team and the right product at the right time.”

 

#articles, #bime-analytics, #carbon-footprint, #ceo, #enterprise-software, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #new-wave, #pia-diribarne, #renewable-energy, #tc, #zendesk

LA’s socially conscious bank challenger, Aspiration, launches a carbon offset credit card

Aspiration, the financial services business for socially conscious consumers, is back with another environmentally friendly offering for its customers — this time, it’s a credit card.

The Los Angeles-based company, which has raised roughly $250 million from investors including the celebrities Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Downey Jr.’s Footprint Coalition, and Orlando Bloom and more traditional institutional investors like AlphaEdison, Capricorn Investment Group, the Omidyar Network, and Allen & Co., wouldn’t say how much about the terms of the card or the credit limits available.

What Aspiration co-founder Andrei Cherny did discuss was the company’s sense of the significance of its new offering.

“There are plenty of credit cards out there that let you rack up miles, this is the only card that rewards you for taking miles off of the planet,” Aspiration co-founder and CEO Andrei Cherny said in a statement. “For the first time, you can have a climate change-fighting tool right in your wallet.” 

The key to Aspiration’s offset services is nothing more or less than tree planting. It’s the easiest way for consumers to eventually cancel out the greenhouse gas emissions associated with daily living in the U.S.

Every time someone uses the card, Aspiration will have one of its global reforestation partners plant a tree. If a customer uses Aspiration’s credit card 60 times, the resulting trees that are planted are enough to offset the carbon emissions from an average American home

“What we’re doing is basing it on the average American’s carbon footprint,” Cherny affirmed. “Every time you make a purchase Aspiration plants your tree. The way the math works out. The average carbon impact of the average tree when you have 60 of them you eliminate the emissions from an average American home.”

Using Aspiration’s app, which includes other tools for consumers to gauge the social impact of their purchases, credit card customers can track their progress towards offsetting their emissions. For every month in which a user gets to carbon zero, Aspiration will reward them with 1% cashback on their credit card purchases.

Cherny said the company works with accredited partners and uses satellite imaging and on-the-ground monitoring to ensure that the forestation projects are proceeding according to plan and that the trees aren’t being harvested.

The company isn’t just doing this out of a sense of corporate responsibility there’s actually an arbitrage case where the planting of seeds becomes a profit center (however nominal) for the company.

“As we get to scale that will be the case,” Cherny said. “We are not a nonprofit, we’re a for-profit company dedicated to saving the planet. Until people can make a profit off of saving the planet in the same way people have been profiting on destroying the planet, there are going to continue to be problems… If only oil companies and incumbent banks can make money by destroying the planet, then we’re in trouble.”

#allen-co, #andrei-cherny, #aspiration, #capricorn-investment-group, #carbon-footprint, #co-founder, #credit-card, #forestry, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #leonardo-dicaprio, #los-angeles, #oil, #omidyar-network, #renewable-energy, #satellite-imaging, #tc, #united-states

New markets emerge for carbon accounting businesses as cities like LA push proposals

Earlier this month, Los Angeles became the latest city to task its various departments with prepping a feasibility study for deploying new software and monitoring technologies to better account for its carbon footprint.

LA’s city council initiative, led by Council member Paul Koretz, follows a push from the state legislature to mandate that all businesses operating in California that gross over $1billion annually disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and set science-based targets to reduce those emissions.

California is far from the only state in the U.S. that’s feeling the disastrous effects of global climate change, but it’s among the most aggressive in trying to address the causes. Whether that’s a dramatic effort to remove fossil fuels from its power supply or the proposal to make businesses accountable for their contributions to climate change, California has been a leader in trying to encourage the adoption of new technology and services that can mitigate the impact of climate change and reverse course on the production of greenhouse gas emissions.

With this move, Los Angeles wants to hitch its wagon to this momentum and is actively looking for tech busineses that can help with carbon accounting.

That means good things for companies like CarbonChain, Persefoni, ClimateView, and SINAI Technologies, which all have offerings meant to help with carbon accounting and management.

It shows that some of the largest cities, with billion dollar budgets, will open their wallets to pay for the tools they need to get a better handle on how they’re contributing to the climate change that threatens their own citizens.

In Los Angeles, the city council tasked the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation and Chief Legislative Analyst to report back on the feasibility of developing or buying technology to provide a more accurate accounting of the city’s carbon footprint.

“The City provides a number of services – from lighting and maintaining municipal buildings, facilities and streetlights, to paving roads and operating a transit fleet, and delivering water and operating reclamation facilities – all of which come with environmental impacts,” said Council member Koretz in a statement earlier this month. “If we’re going to take our carbon reduction goals seriously, and make a real difference in the lives of frontline communities near LAX and the Port of Los Angeles, we need a better, more consistent, and more transparent accounting of our emissions.”

Los Angeles has steadily worked to give climate change and climate friendly policies a more central role in political discussions. Roughly two years ago, in July 2019, Los Angeles set up an office of climate emergency and earlier this year Mayor Eric Garcetti launched the climate emergency mobilization office to coordinate activity between civic leaders, the mayor’s office, and the city council. 

Budget hasn’t been allocated for the accountability plan, but people familiar with the City Council’s plan expect that implementation could begin in the 2021-2022 budget cycle.

Los Angeles has tried to address its carbon footprint in the past, but the efforts weren’t very successful. The study was conducted using historical emissions data and did not include the “scope three” emissions, which refer to the greenhouse gas emissions created by service providers for the city’s operations.

As the City of Angels looks to improve its ability to provide accountability and metrics on its contribution to climate change, it could do worse than look at the standard that’s been set by New York City. Under the Bloomberg Administration, carbon accounting and resiliency measures became a priority — even before Hurricane Sandy made clear that the city was highly exposed to climate and weather-related disasters.

That 2012 storm inflicted nearly $70 billion in damage and killed 233 people across eight countries from the Caribbean to Canada.

The disaster only furthered New York’s resolve to be more aggressive with its climate action. The city has a robust accounting program for emissions from its operations, and is moving forward with policies across the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment, transportation, and industry.

“Data drives decision making and without data, we cannot chart a path towards a zero-emission future,” said Councilmember Joe Buscaino. “Today’s generation of leaders must continue to address climate change with urgency and be held accountable to the goals we set for Los Angeles, and this motion sets us on the path to do just that.”

 

#articles, #california, #carbon-dioxide, #carbon-footprint, #carbonchain, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #leader, #los-angeles, #mayor, #persefoni, #sinai-technologies, #tc, #united-states

Regenerative agriculture is the next great ally in fight against climate change

It seems that every week a new agribusiness, consumer packaged goods company, bank, technology corporation, celebrity or Facebook friend announces support for regenerative agriculture.

For those of us who have been working on climate and/or agriculture solutions for the last couple of decades, this is both exciting and worrisome.

With the rush to be a part of something so important, the details and hard work, the incremental advancements and wins, as well as the big, hairy problems that remain can be overlooked or forgotten. When so many are swinging for the fences, it’s easy to forget that singles and doubles usually win the game.

As a managing partner and founder of DBL Partners, I have specifically sought out companies to invest in that not only have winning business models but also solve the planet’s biggest problems. I believe that agriculture can be a leading climate solution while feeding a growing population.

At the same time, I want to temper the hype, refocus the conversation, and use the example of agriculture to forge a productive template for all business sectors with carbon habits to fight climate change.

First, let’s define regenerative agriculture: It encompasses practices such as cover cropping and conservation tillage that, among other things, build soil health, enhance water retention, and sequester and abate carbon.

The broad excitement around regenerative agriculture is tied to its potential to mitigate climate impact at scale. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine estimates that soil sequestration has the potential to eliminate over 250 million metric tons of CO2 per year, equivalent to 5 percent of U.S. emissions.

It is important to remember that regenerative practices are not new. Conservationists have advocated for cover cropping and reduced tillage for decades, and farmers have led the charge.

The reason these practices are newly revered today is that, when executed at scale, with the heft of new technology and innovation, they have demonstrated agriculture’s potential to lead the fight against climate change.

So how do we empower farmers in this carbon fight?

Today, offset markets get the majority of the attention. Multiple private, voluntary markets for soil carbon have appeared in the last couple of years, mostly supported by corporations driven by carbon neutrality commitments to offset their carbon emissions with credit purchases.

Offset markets are a key step toward making agriculture a catalyst for a large-scale climate solution; organizations that support private carbon markets build capacity and the economic incentive to reduce emissions.

“Farming carbon” will drive demand for regenerative finance mechanisms, data analytics tools, and new technology like nitrogen-fixing biologicals – all imperatives to maximize the adoption and impact of regenerative practices and spur innovation and entrepreneurship.

It’s these advancements, and not the carbon credit offsets themselves, that will permanently reduce agriculture emissions.

Offsets are a start, but they are only part of the solution. Whether generated by forestry, renewable energy, transportation or agriculture, offsets must be purchased by organizations year after year, and do not necessarily reduce a buyer’s footprint.

Inevitably, each business sector needs to decarbonize its footprint directly or create “insets” by lowering the emissions within its supply chain. The challenge is, this is not yet economically viable or logistically feasible for every organization.

For organizations that purchase and process agricultural products – from food companies to renewable fuel producers – soil carbon offsets can indirectly reduce emissions immediately while also funding strategies that directly reduce emissions permanently, starting at the farm.

DBL invests in ag companies that work on both sides of this coin: facilitating soil carbon offset generation and establishing a credit market while also building fundamentally more efficient and less carbon-intensive agribusiness supply chains.

This approach is a smart investment for agriculture players looking to reduce their climate impact. The business model also creates demand for environmental services from farmers with real staying power.

Way back in 2006, when DBL first invested in Tesla, we had no idea we would be helping to create a worldwide movement to unhinge transportation from fossil fuels.

Now, it’s agriculture’s turn. Backed by innovations in science, big data, financing and farmer networking, investing in regenerative agriculture promises to slash farming’s carbon footprint while rewarding farmers for their stewardship.

Future generations will reap the benefits of this transition, all the while asking, “What took so long?”

#carbon-footprint, #climate-change, #column, #food, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #greentech, #renewable-energy, #startups, #technology, #venture-capital

Softbank, Demeter and Coparion invest $3M into Plan A’s B2B carbon monitoring and ESG platform

Plan A, a Berlin-based automated SaaS B2B startup, has raised $3 million for its platform that lets companies measure, monitor, reduce and report their environmental footprint thus improving their ESG ratings. French VC Demeter led the round, with German VC Coparion and Softbank joined the round as a strategic investor. The cash will be used to enhance Plans A’s carbon emission and ESG management software for enterprise customers in Europe, and for international expansion.

Some estimates put the market for emission management solutions at between $10 billion and $26 billion in the next five years. The US Green Deal and new “EU taxonomy for sustainable activities” is putting pressure on businesses to manage their carbon emissions, leading to the ride of platforms like Plan A. Emitwise in the UK has raised $3.4M and there is also while Watershed. However, Plan A says its platform is more comprehensive than other players because of its ongoing automation and monitoring of a company’s carbon output.

Founded in 2017, Plan A has managed to garner customers including Société Générale, GANNI, AlbionVC, BMW Foundation, BCG Digital Ventures and football club Werder Bremen.

Lubomila Jordanova, co-founder and CEO of Plan A, said: “Plan A’s technology has transformed companies and enabled them to turn sustainability into a competitive advantage. We have been working for multiple years on developing the best in class technology, and this investment will allow us to further tailor our carbon and ESG management platform to the needs of enterprises worldwide.”

Olivier Bordelanne, partner at Demeter: “There is a high demand for B2B monitoring services and platforms providing data-based insights on companies’ sustainability indicators or climate risk exposures. Among the many companies offering carbon footprint measurements that we have studied recently, Plan A and its team stood out by positioning themselves as the one-stop shop to help businesses calculate, monitor, and reduce their carbon footprint via mitigation and offsetting actions.”

Alexander Lüttge, Partner at Coparion, said: “Plan A offers companies an easy-to-integrate and easy-to-use SaaS solution for carbon footprint transparency, mitigation and offsetting. In our view, their solution is not only the most versatile product for automated emissions data collection in the market, it also creates transparency in emission and cost structures, as well as a significant value-add for companies through the introduction of automated business process optimization.”

Jordanova says competitors tend to calculate carbon footprints on a one-off basis, help with offsetting and then give certificates for the offsetting without supporting doing any further work. “We offer all of those services, but also enable the company to reduce its carbon footprint and learn how to implement sustainability on an ongoing basis,” she told me.

Plan A is in a good place to benefit from new regulatory environments. The new US administration and the EU have been significantly shifting their agenda, requiring a lot more transparency on reporting about emissions. In the Netherlands, more than 90 banks signed an agreement to create more transparency on CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, money is being divested from fossil fuels and diverted into ESG investments. But of course, companies wanting to get hold of that cash have to be able to prove their emissions. That’s where Plan A comes in.

#articles, #bcg-digital-ventures, #berlin, #carbon-footprint, #energy, #europe, #european-union, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #renewable-energy, #softbank, #tc, #united-kingdom

Firms backed by Robert Downey Jr. and Bill Gates have funded an electric motor company that slashes energy consumption

Sometimes the smallest innovations can have the biggest impacts on the world’s efforts to stop global climate change. Arguably, one of the biggest contributors in the fight against climate change to date has been the switch to the humble LED light, which has slashed hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions simply by reducing energy consumption in buildings.

And now firms backed by Robert Downey Jr. and Bill Gates are joining investors like Amazon and iPod inventor Tony Fadell to pour money into a company called Turntide Technologies that believes it has the next great innovation in the world’s efforts to slow global climate change — a better electric motor.

It’s not as flashy as an arc reactor, but like light bulbs, motors are a ubiquitous and wholly unglamorous technology that have been operating basically the same way since the nineteenth century. And, like the light bulb, they’re due for an upgrade.

“Turntide’s technology and approach to restoring  our planet will directly reduce energy consumption,” said Steve Levin, the co-founder (along with Downey Jr. ) of FootPrint Coalition Ventures

The operation of buildings is responsible for 40% of CO2 emissions worldwide, Turntide noted in a statement. And, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), one-third of energy used in commercial buildings is wasted. Smart building technology adds an intelligent layer to eliminate this waste and inefficiency by automatically controlling lighting, air conditioning, heating, ventilation and other essential systems and Turntide’s electric motors can add additional savings.

That’s why investors have put over $100 million into Turntide in just the last six months.

PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 16: Tony Fadell Inventor of the iPod and Founder and former CEO of Nest attends a conference during Viva Technology at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on June 16, 2017 in Paris, France. Viva Technology is a fair that brings together, for the second year, major groups and startups around all the themes of innovation. (Photo by Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images)

The company, led by chief executive and chairman Ryan Morris is commercializing technology that was developed initially at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Turntide’s basic innovation is a software controlled motor, or switch reluctance motor, that uses precise pulses of energy instead of a constant flow of electricity. “In a conventional motor you are continuously driving current into the motor whatever speed you want to run it at,” Morris said. “We’re pulsing in precise amounts of current just at the times when you need the torque… It’s software defined hardware.” 

The technology spent eleven years under development, in part because the computing power didn’t exist to make the system work, according to Morris.

Morris was initially part of an investment firm called Meson Capital that acquired the technology back in 2013, and it was another four years of development before the motors were actually able to function in pilots, he said. The company spent the last three years developing the commercialization strategy and proving the value in its initial market — retrofitting the heating ventilation and cooling systems in buildings that are the main factor in the built environment’s 28% contribution to carbon dioxide emissions that are leading to global climate change.

“Our mission is to replace all of the motors in the world,” Morris said.

He estimates that the technology is applicable to 95% of where electric motors are used today, but the initial focus will be on smart buildings because it’s the easiest place to start and can have some of the largest immediate impact on energy usage. 

The carbon impact of what we’re doing is pretty massive,” Morris told me last year. “The average energy reduction [in buildings] has been a 64% reduction. If we can replace all the motors in buildings in the US that’s the carbon equivalent of adding over 300 million tons of carbon sequestration per year.”

That’s why Downey Jr.’s Footprint Coalition, and Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures and the real estate and construction focused venture firm Fifth Wall Ventures have joined the Amazon Climate Fund, Tony Fadell’s Future Shape, BMW’s iVentures fund and a host of other investors in backing the company.

The company has raised roughly $180 million in financing including the disclosure today of an $80 million investment round, which closed in October.

Buildings are clearly the current focus for Turntide, which only yesterday announced the acquisition of a small Santa Barbara, Calif.-based building management software developer called Riptide IO. But there’s also an application in another massive industry — electric vehicles.

“Two years from now we will definitely be in electric vehicles,” Morris said. 

“Our technology has huge advantages for the electric vehicle industry. There’s no rare earth minerals. Every EV uses rare earth minerals to get better performance of their electric motors,” he continued. “They’re expensive, destructive to mine and China controls 95 percent of the global supply chain for them. We do not use any exotic materials, rare earth minerals or magnets.. We’re replacing that with very advanced software and computation. It’s the first time Moore’s law applies to the motor.”

#amazon, #articles, #bmw, #california, #carbon-footprint, #china, #co-founder, #computing, #electricity, #energy, #energy-consumption, #fifth-wall-ventures, #footprint-coalition, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #ipod, #real-estate, #tc, #tony-fadell, #u-s-department-of-energy, #united-states

Corporate sustainability initiatives may open doors for carbon offset startups

Commitments to carbon neutrality keep coming from all corners of the business world — over the past few weeks, companies ranging from the fast-casual restaurant chain Sweetgreen to the security-focused networking IT company Palo Alto Networks to the online craft retailer Etsy committed to net-zero carbon emission plans.

As the companies look for ways to reduce their energy consumption, they’re turning to carbon offset programs as a stopgap measure until the energy grid decarbonizes, they implement technologies to reduce their energy consumption, or both.

This push toward corporate sustainability is creating all kinds of strange bedfellows and startup opportunities, with major corporate offset programs and the establishment of new startups focused on offsets creating channels for sustainable technologies to get to market.

The latest example of a company leveraging a sustainability angle to tie a corporate partner even closer to their business is the agreement between Delta and Deloitte, which involves the accounting and consulting firm paying Delta for renewable jet fuel to offset the emissions of its corporate travel.

To be clear, a better policy for Deloitte would be to cut back on non-essential travel significantly and focus on doing as much remote work as possible to reduce the need for flights. But in some cases business travel is unavoidable, and most folks want to get back to a pre-pandemic normal, which — at least in the U.S. and other countries — will include significantly ramping up air travel for a percentage of the population.

As the BBC noted, air travel accounts for roughly 5 percent of the emissions that contribute to global climate change, but only a small percentage of the world actually uses air transport. According to one analysis from the International Council on Clean Transport, just 3 percent of the world’s population flies regularly. And if everyone in the world did fly, aircraft emissions would top the CO2 emissions of the entire U.S.

Which brings us back to Deloitte and Delta and startups.

Delta’s deal to buy sustainable aviation fuel that would offset a portion of the carbon emissions associated with Deloitte’s business travel is one small step toward greening the airline industry, but the question is whether it’s a significant first step or just an attempt to greenwash the unsustainable travel habits of a consulting industry that prides itself on such perks.

#carbon-footprint, #ec-food-climate-and-sustainability, #greentech, #palo-alto-networks, #renewable-energy, #startups, #tc, #transportation

The carbon offset API developer Patch confirms a $4.5 million round led by Andreessen Horowitz

Patch, the carbon offset API developer, has raised $4.5 million in financing to build out its business selling customers a way to calculate their carbon footprint and identify and finance offset projects that capture the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions associated with that footprint. 

Confirming TechCrunch reporting, Andreessen Horowitz led the round, which also included previous investors VersionOne Ventures, MapleVC, and Pale Blue Dot Ventures.

Patch’s application protocol interface works for both internal and customer-facing operations. The company’s code can integrate into the user experience on a company’s internal site to track things like business flights for employees, recommending and managing the purchase of carbon credits to offset employee travel.

The software allows companies to choose which projects they’d like to finance to support the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with projects ranging from the tried and true reforestation and conservation projects to more high tech early stage technologies like direct air capture and sequestration projects, the company said. 

Patch founders Brennan Spellacy and Aaron Grunfeld, two former employees at the apartment rental service Sonder, stressed in an interview that the company’s offset work should not be viewed as an alternative to the decarbonization of businesses that use its service. Rather, they see Patch’s services as a compliment to other work companies need to do to transition away from a reliance on fossil fuels in business operations.

Patch co-founders Brennon Spellacy and Aaron Grunfeld. Image Credit: Patch

Patch currently works with 11 carbon removal suppliers and has plans to onboard another 10 before the end of the first quarter, the company said. These are companies like CarbonCure, which injects carbon dioxide into cement and fixes it so that it’s embedded in building materials for as long as a building lasts.

“Carbon removal credits can help to dramatically accelerate the deployment of technologies like CarbonCure’s, which are absolutely critical to helping us reach our global climate targets. Demand for high-quality, permanent credits is sky-rocketing, and listing credits on Patch will help us to attract a broader range of buyers,” said Jennifer Wagner, President of CarbonCure Technologies, in a statement. 

It also has around 15 customers already using its service, according to earlier TechCrunch reporting. Those buyers include companies like TripAction and the private equity firm EQT, which intends to extend the integration of Patch’s API from its own operations to those of its portfolio companies down the road, according to Spellacy.

Grunfeld said that the company would be spending the money to hire more staff and developing new products. From its current headcount of six employees, Patch intends to bring on another 24 by the end of the year.

As the company expands, it’s looking to some of the startups providing carbon emissions audit and verification services as a channel that the company’s API can integrate with and sell through.  These would be businesses like  CarbonChainPersefoni, and another Y Combinator graduate, SINAI Technologies.

For project developers like CarbonCure, which makes direct air capture technology, companies like

“An increasing number of businesses are taking leadership positions in an effort to reduce emissions to try to counteract global warming,” said Jeff Jordan, Managing Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “Patch makes it much easier for companies to add carbon removal to their core business processes, aggregating verified carbon-removal supply and offering turn-key access to it to companies through an easy-to-implement API.”

#andreessen-horowitz, #api, #articles, #carbon-footprint, #carboncure-technologies, #energy, #eqt, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #greenhouse-gases, #jeff-jordan, #managing-partner, #president, #sinai-technologies, #tc, #y-combinator

Tickr, which allows retail investors to back Impact companies, secures $3.4M from Ada Ventures

Tickr, an app that allows UK consumers to make financial investments based on their impact on society and the environment, has secured £2.5m ($3.4m) in funding lead by Ada Ventures, a VC which focuses on ‘impact’ startups. The cash will be used for product development, expanding the user base, and eventually taking Tickr into other European countries from its current UK base.

As well as investing, the platform allows customers to spend their cash via partnerships with impact-oriented compares, and offset their carbon footprint through a subscription. The core business model is £1 p/m per customer, plus 0.30% on assets above £3,000. Additional products, like carbon offsets, for example, are charged as a separate additional subscription depending on the tier selected.

The startup says it is approaching 100,000 users in the UK and is reaching a millennial audience 90% of which have ‘never invested before’ (they say) and these users are investing £250 per month on average.

Tickr App

Tickr App

The app is not billed as a trading app, with quick ‘in and outs’ but about building wealth whilst investing in a diversified portfolio of high impact companies. Its competitors include MoneyBox, but Tickr says it is “100% pure impact focus” by contrast. The vast majority of Europeans don’t invest in markets so this could be a good opportunity for the product.

Founders Tom McGillycuddy and Matt Latham spent 8 years working in investment management but say they became disillusioned by the jargon, high fees and indifference to causes such as the environment.

Over text interview, McGillycuddy told me: “We also realized there was zero consideration for the underlying impact of the investments people were making; it was purely about the return. Coming from Wigan and Liverpool, we were the first people in our families to be exposed to this world, and it didn’t seem right.” The pair moved into impact investing and subsequently went on to launch Tickr in 2018.

#ada-ventures, #articles, #carbon-footprint, #economy, #europe, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #liverpool, #renewable-energy, #startup-company, #tc, #united-kingdom

SilviaTerra wants to bring the benefits of carbon offsets to every landowner everywhere

Zack Parisa and Max Nova, the co-founders of the carbon offset company SilviaTerra, have spent the last decade working on a way to democratize access to revenue generating carbon offsets.

As forestry credits become a big, booming business on the back of multi-billion dollar commitments from some of the world’s biggest companies to decarbonize their businesses, the kinds of technologies that the two founders have dedicated ten years of their lives to building are only going to become more valuable.

That’s why their company, already a profitable business, has raised $4.4 million in outside funding led by Union Square Ventures and Version One Ventures, along with Salesforce founder and the driving force between the 1 trillion trees initiative, Marc Benioff .

“Key to addressing the climate crisis is changing the balance in the so-called carbon cycle. At present, every year we are adding roughly 5 gigatons of carbon to the atmosphere. Since atmospheric carbon acts as a greenhouse gas this increases the energy that’s retained rather than radiated back into space which causes the earth to heat up,” writes Union Square Ventures managing partner Albert Wenger in a blog post. “There will be many ways such drawdown occurs and we will write about different approaches in the coming weeks (such as direct air capture and growing kelp in the oceans). One way that we understand well today and can act upon immediately are forests. The world’s forests today absorb a bit more than one gigatons of CO2 per year out of the atmosphere and turn it into biomass. We need to stop cutting and burning down existing forests (including preventing large scale forest fires) and we have to start planting more new trees. If we do that, the total potential for forests is around 4 to 5 gigatons per year (with some estimates as high as 9 gigatons).”

For the two founders, the new funding is the latest step in a long journey that began in the woods of Northern Alabama, where Parisa grew up.

After attending Mississippi State for forestry, Parisa went to graduate school at Yale, where he met Louisville, Kentucky native Max Nova, a computer science student who joined with Parisa to set up the company that would become SiliviaTerra.

SilviaTerra co-founders Max Nova and Zack Parisa. Image Credit: SilviaTerra

The two men developed a way to combine satellite imagery with field measurements to determine the size and species of trees in every acre of forest.

While the first step was to create a map of every forest in the U.S. the ultimate goal for both men was to find a way to put a carbon market on equal footing with the timber industry. Instead of cutting trees for cash, potentially landowners could find out how much it would be worth to maintain their forestland. As the company notes, forest management had previously been driven by the economics of timber harvesting, with over $10 billion spent in the US each year.

The founders at SilviaTerra thought that the carbon market could be equally as large, but it’s hard for moset landowners to access. Carbon offset projects can cost as much as $200,000 to put together, which is more than the value of the smaller offset projects for landowners like Parisa’s own family and the 40 acres they own in the Alabama forests.

There had to be a better way for smaller landowners to benefit from carbon markets too, Parisa and Nova thought.

To create this carbon economy, there needed to be a single source of record for every tree in the U.S. and while SilviaTerra had the technology to make that map, they lacked the compute power, machine learning capabilities and resources to build the map.

That’s where Microsoft’s AI for Earth program came in.

Working with AI for Earth, SilviaTierra created their first product, Basemap, to process terabytes ofsatellite imagery to determine the sizes and species of trees on every acre of America’s forestland. The company also worked with the US Forestry Service to access their data, which was used in creating this holistic view of the forest assets in the U.S.

With the data from Basemap in hand, the company has created what it calls the Natural Capital Exchange. This program uses SilviaTerra’s unparalleled access to information about local forests, and the knowledge of how those forests are currently used to supply projects that actually represent land that would have been forested were it not for the offset money coming in.

Currently, many forestry projects are being passed off to offset buyers as legitimate offsets on land that would never have been forested in the first place — rendering the project meaningless and useless in any real way as an offset for carbon dioxide emissions. 

“It’s a bloodbath out there,” said Nova of the scale of the problem with fraudulent offsets in the industry. “We’re not repackaging existing forest carbon projects and try to connect the demand side with projects that already exist. Use technology to unlock a new supply of forest carbon offset.”

The first Natural Capital Exchange project was actually launched and funded by Microsoft back in 2019. In it, 20 Western Pennsylvania land owners originated forest carbon credits through the program, showing that the offsets could work for landowners with 40 acres, or, as the company said, 40,000.

Landowners involved in SilviaTerra’s pilot carbon offset program paid for by Microsoft. Image Credit: SilviaTerra

“We’re just trying to get inside every landowners annual economic planning cycle,” said Nova. “There’s a whole field of timber economics… and we’re helping answer the question of given the price of timber, given the price of carbon does it make sense to reduce your planned timber harvests?”

Ultimately, the two founders believe that they’ve found a way to pay for the total land value through the creation of data around the potential carbon offset value of these forests.

It’s more than just carbon markets, as well. The tools that SilviaTerra have created can be used for wildfire mitigation as well. “We’re at the right place at the right time with the right data and the right tools,” said Nova. “It’s about connecting that data to the decision and the economics of all this.”

The launch of the SilviaTerra exchange gives large buyers a vetted source to offset carbon. In some ways its an enterprise corollary to the work being done by startups like Wren, another Union Square Ventures investment, that focuses on offsetting the carbon footprint of everyday consumers. It’s also a competitor to companies like Pachama, which are trying to provide similar forest offsets at scale, or 3Degrees Inc. or South Pole.

Under a Biden administration there’s even more of an opportunity for these offset companies, the founders said, given discussions underway to establish a Carbon Bank. Established through the existing Commodity Credit Corp. run by the Department of Agriculture, the Carbon Bank would pay farmers and landowners across the U.S. for forestry and agricultural carbon offset projects.

“Everybody knows that there’s more value in these systems than just the product that we harvest off of it,” said Parisa. “Until we put those benefits in the same footing as the things we cut off and send to market…. As the value of these things goes up… absolutely it is going to influence these decisions and it is a cash crop… It’s a money pump from coastal America into middle America to create these things that they need.” 

#air-pollution, #alabama, #albert-wenger, #america, #articles, #artificial-intelligence, #biden-administration, #carbon-footprint, #energy, #greenhouse-gas, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #kentucky, #louisville, #machine-learning, #managing-partner, #marc-benioff, #microsoft, #pennsylvania, #salesforce, #satellite-imagery, #tc, #union-square-ventures, #united-states, #version-one-ventures, #yale

Yayzy app automatically calculates the environmental impact of your spending

Ahead of the turning of the New Year, many people are wishing they could do something about the environment. Now, a UK startup hopes to make our environmental impact more personal.

Yayzy has now launched an iOS app (but Android is coming) which literally links to your bank account to work out the environmental impact of what you buy. It uses payment data via Open Banking standards to automatically calculate the carbon footprint of each purchase a user makes, giving them a picture of their total monthly carbon emissions. This makes the carbon footprint calculated more accurate and bespoke to the individual, allowing them to immediately connect their spending to its impact on the planet.

Yayzy has secured £900,000 in backing from Antler Venture Capital, Seedrs (a crowdfunding round) and the CoreAngels Impact Fund. As the user sees what the carbon footprint is of their purchase, they can choose to offset it right then and there on the app via the carbon offsetter Ecosphere Plus. In the app, users can also find tips to reduce their carbon footprint, eco-friendly retailers near them or insights into lifestyle choices that have the highest environmental impact.

Their competitors are people like CoGo, a real-time Carbon Footprint tracker, and and Doconomy and the soon to launch Tred.

But Yayzy is taking a different approach. It brings together all of a user’s spending and shows them item by item as they spend, what the carbon footprint of that spend is. So far – it claims – its competitors don’t do that.

Yaysy app

This can be done ad hoc, item by item, or by signing up to a monthly subscription to either carbon offsetting projects or the user’s own unique climate portfolio. This portfolio would bundle multiple projects together for a more ‘holistic’ impact. Yayzy says all of these projects have been carefully selected based on strict criteria, and also advance the UN Sustainable development goals.

For its underlying carbon data, Yayzy is using Vital Metrics https://www.vitalmetricsgroup.com/
as used by Google, Microsoft and both the UK and US governments, among others.

Mankaran Ahluwalia, cofounder and CEO of Yayzy said in a statement: “While emissions have gradually risen as lockdown eases, YAYZY wants to put us all in the driver’s seat to control our own environmental impact… It is clear from a plethora of surveys that the majority of people want to address climate change before it is too late, but that a huge intention/action gap blocks much of it. Our solution with Yayzy is to make environmental impact ‘up close and personal’ and the action to tackle it super easy, all via your phone.”

Ahluwalia, was as a technology analyst with Infosys and built a lending platform for alternate credit. Cofounder Cristian Dan, CTO, previously built a discounts platform and cofounder Pedro Cabrero, CFO was in equity sales and trading for UBS and Citigroup, and co-founded the a leading online pharmacy in Mexico.

#android, #articles, #carbon-footprint, #cfo, #citigroup, #cofounder, #cto, #driver, #energy, #europe, #google, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #mexico, #microsoft, #new-years-day, #online-pharmacy, #renewable-energy, #seedrs, #tc, #ubs, #united-kingdom, #united-nations, #united-states

Google claims net zero carbon footprint over its entire lifetime, aims to only use carbon-free energy by 2030

Google was at the leading edge of large technology companies seeking to go completely carbon neutral, having declared that status in 2007, and subsequently matching all of its global electricity consumption with renewable energy. Now, the company says that it is breaking new ground by becoming the first major company to effectively eliminate its entire carbon footprint – going back to its founding – something it has achieved through purchase of “high-quality carbon offsets” as of today. Further, it’s also setting a goal of employing entirely renewable energy sources by 2030.

The first achievement – eliminating its overall carbon footprint – is relatively easily achieved simply by spending a lot of cash. Google didn’t share exactly how much it had purchased in carbon offsets, but the idea behind those is that you could buy support of projects including renewable energy or energy efficiency initiatives or projects to offset your own impact. Google should be more or less aware of the impact of its operations from its founding until it became a carbon neutral operation in 2007, and hopefully its claim that it has purchased high-quality offsets means that a lot of meaningful projects got a sound investment to eliminate whatever that figure was.

Meanwhile, Google is taking on the much more challenging task of moving towards running its entire business on carbon-free energy sources everywhere it operates, 100 percent of the time. That means offices, campuses and data centres everywhere, for all of its products across Gmail, Search, YouTube and Maps. While Google already claims operations that match their total energy usage with 100 percent renewable use, that’s not actually through direct use of carbon-free sources. Instead, as is typical for companies seeking greener operations but with large and distributed physical footprints, Google purchases renewable energy elsewhere to offset the use of non-renewable power in places where there are no directly accessible sources available.

To commit to directly using only carbon-free energy all the time across its entire operations therefore means a huge undertaking, that will require the actual development of new clean energy sources. To that end, Google says it’ll be helping to bring 5 GW of new carbon-free energy sources online by 2030 across regions where it has physical resources that need access to clean power.

Funding the development of local clean energy sources to power its facilities isn’t new, and most major tech companies with a clean energy agenda pursue it. But Google’s specific target of making all of its power sources carbon-free by 2030 provides a fixed deadline for an unprecedented goal for a company of its size and influence.

#carbon-footprint, #energy, #google, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #greentech, #renewable-energy, #sustainable-energy, #tc

Energy offset and renewable power developer Arcadia pitches clean power as an employee benefit

Arcadia, the company that gives homeowners and renters a way to offset their carbon footprints through renewable energy credits and clean power developments, is now pitching its services to businesses as an employee benefit.

Companies can offset their employees carbon footprints or subsidize their power bills using Arcadia’s services, the company said. It’s a response to the millions of Americans who are now working from home rather than going in to an office and an acknowledgement that office perks look different when the office is a living room couch, dining room table, or bed.

Since commuter benefits and office amenities like free coffee, snacks, sodas or whatever have become as nonexistent as a competent US government response to a global pandemic, companies are trying to come up with new ways to make employees happy (even though folks are lucky to be employed right now).

Energy usage that spikes in offices in the summer have now been distributed to homes around the country, according to data cited by Arcadia, which means that workers will be eating the cost of increased cooling bills that would have been borne by their corporate offices.

For workplaces that opt in to the new potential benefit for employees, Arcadia can either buy renewable energy credits to offset an employee’s emissions or it can take pay for that employee’s energy usage by acquiring blocks of renewable power from energy markets around the country.

The company has already signed up a few marquee customers, including McDonald’s, which is using the service to offset employee’s emissions (but not paying for their power).  

“We’re thrilled to partner with Arcadia on this new initiative,” said Emma Cox, Manager of North America Sustainability at McDonald’s, in a statement. “Getting the program up and running is incredibly easy and enables us to empower our employees that are no longer in the office, and is consistent with McDonald’s goals in reducing carbon emissions.”

 

#articles, #carbon-footprint, #energy, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #mcdonalds, #nature, #partner, #renewable-energy, #tc, #us-government

Americans have Texas-sized carbon footprints—here’s why

Casually dressed people congregate around an oddly misshapen humanoid statue.

Enlarge / Fairgoers gather at Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas in 2018. Based on American data, presumably some not-insignificant portion of fairgoers traveled to Dallas in not-the-most-fuel-efficient of vehicles. (credit: Ron Jenkins / The Washington Post / Getty Images)

Greenhouse gas emissions are most commonly reported at the national level, which tends to make us compare nations to other nations. This makes some sense, as national policy can significantly influence emissions trends. But it’s easy to forget that borders are just lines on a map, and some lines have considerably more people inside them than others. The citizens of Luxembourg don’t ensure their country’s low carbon emissions because they’re lightyears ahead of the people of China in terms of efficiency—there are just a whole lot fewer of them.

In order to make more meaningful comparisons, you obviously have to calculate emissions per person. And when you do that, the United States really sticks out. (As does Luxembourg, by the way.) It’s not surprising that per capita emissions in the United States are much greater than in India, where millions of people still lack electricity. But why are they also much greater than in the wealthier Western nations in Europe?

To answer that question, we need to do more than divide a national total by population. We need to break down the contributions to a person’s carbon footprint—the emissions behind the things we buy and do. Doing that in a detailed way is a challenge, and researchers haven’t been at it that long. “A lot of the research that’s been done has been done quite quickly [with] available data and resources,” UC Berkeley’s Chris Jones told Ars, “And there really is a lot of work to do.”

Read 33 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#carbon-footprint, #features, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #science