The 501Carbon Blog

Looking Forward to Paris 2015 — The Next Global Conference on Climate Change

The Paris 2015 Climate Change Conference could lead to a global agreement on climate change mitigation. While unlikely, part of this agreement could include a global carbon pricing system based on the ‘fair’ allocation of carbon budgets (amount of carbon emissions that each country is allowed to produce). A recent article from the World Economic Forum compared three different carbon allocation rules: a tax rule, an equity-based rule, and an egalitarian rule. Each has its benefits and drawbacks.

The Journey towards Land Degradation Neutrality

The Soil Leadership Academy (SLA) is a new special initiative of the United Nation’s Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). In particular, the organization is working to support public and private decision-makers in achieving land degradation neutrality (LDN). LDN, which is part of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), represents the idea of maintaining and eventually increasing the level of healthy and productive soil resources — effectively reversing the current trend of increasing soil degradation across the world. 

How to Tackle Energy Poverty

Momentum is building in the fight against energy poverty, and 501Carbon is part of the movement. The UN recently crystallized its sustainable development goals for 2030, with “access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy for all” selected as goal number seven. An Oxfam report showed how renewable energy could help beat poverty and pollution in India; the World Bank flat out rejected the idea of tackling energy poverty with coal power; and billionaire Richard Branson ruminated on the importance of ending energy poverty once and for all through sustainable energy projects.

Climate Change, Global Poverty, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

While so far action on climate change has not lived up to previous global targets, there has been a lot of progress over the last 30 years in the global fight against extreme poverty. For the first time, the World Bank forecast that global poverty will fall below 10% by the end of 2015, but admits that major barriers remain in reaching the number one 2030 goal of eradicating extreme poverty. One of these barriers is climate change, which tends to have a more adverse impact on those living in poverty.

Can Behavioral Science Help Address Climate Change?

On Tuesday, President Obama issued an executive order to federal agencies, asking them to use behavioral science when developing programs to address key policy problems, including climate change. The goal with regard to climate change-related programs is to get the American people to do more to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, chiefly by reducing energy consumption.

Is Climate Change Causing Violent Conflicts?

Recent and tragic events involving the death of refugees fleeing war-torn regions in the Middle East for safe havens in Europe and elsewhere have once again shed light on of the key questions surrounding climate change: does it cause violent conflicts?

An Introduction to Carbon Farming

Carbon farming means farming in a way that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by capturing and holding atmospheric carbon in vegetation and soils. It comprises the simultaneous management of land, water, plants, and animals to restore landscapes, mitigate climate change, and enhance food security.

The GHG Emission Reduction Potential of Organic-Based Fertilizers

While organic fertilizers usually contain fewer nutrients than synthetic fertilizers, they offer advantages in terms of reduced environmental impacts – including nitrate pollution of water bodies, soil acidification, soil contamination, changes in soil biology, and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Can Biomass Conversion of Coal Plants be a Game-Changer?

Biomass has been frequently touted as a viable alternative for coal. But the reality is that there is a lot of variation in the carbon intensities of biomass resources. The true carbon intensity of a biomass resource depends on a number of factors, namely the chemical constituents of the resource, and the state of the biomass before it was harvested as a resource.

Earth Overshoot Day 2015

Today, August 13th, 2015, is Overshoot Day: the day when humanity’s annual demand for ecosystem goods and services – such as crops, meat, wood, and carbon-intensive resources – exceeds what the planet’s ecosystems can renew (or in the case of carbon dioxide emissions, absorb) in a year. From this day until the end of the year, we will essentially be living off resources borrowed from the future. In other words, the consumption of natural capital for the rest of the year will result in the depletion of the Earth’s resource base.