If you’re feeling down after the Paris Climate Accords, here are five examples around the world that may just pick you up.
U.S. President Trump made international waves when he pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accords (PCA), leaving many environmentalists and green energy enthusiasts around the world grinding their teeth in frustration.
Here at Edgy Labs, though, we like to think positive. Yeah, Trump may have pulled a big contributor to an environmentally friendly, international effort, but all is far from lost.
In this article, we’re going to take a trip around this small, small world to see some examples of good green sense. Hopefully, that will help ease the frustration and soothe the worries of those worried about the effects of global warming.Nations of the world, go green! #carboncapture #solarfarms #carbonneutralClick To Tweet
1. Switzerland and Their Magical Carbon Capture Contraption
Our first stop is Switzerland, the home of the first ever commercial carbon capture plant.
This bad boy is reported to be 1000 times more efficient at removing CO2 from the atmosphere than photosynthesis, effectively giving global warming the middle finger and telling plant life worldwide that they need to step up their game.
The Climeworks plant uses three shipping containers filled with spongey filters that absorb CO2, and in the space of two or three hours that CO2 is heated up and released as pure CO2 which can be recycled into other products or stored underground.
Climeworks has noted that hundreds of thousands of these plants need to be made in order to remain below the PCA’s set limit, but it’s a good start toward a noble goal.
And Switzerland isn’t alone. Other technologies are in the works in research labs around the world with the end goal of lowering the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Some examples include a way to turn captured carbon into concrete and converting power plant emissions into carbon nanotubes.
2. South Korea: No More Nuclear, no More Coal
Next on our list is South Korea, where the political winds are shifting toward green energy strategies under new leader Moon Jae-in.
While South Korea has been making a huge splash in the tech world in the form of companies like Samsung and LG, they have paid for it with a heavy dependence on coal and nuclear reactors. Under the new administration, and with respect to the Paris Climate Accords, it looks like they will be doing an about-face on their energy policies when it comes to thinking green.
The change is timely, seeing as how all of the countries of the world need to wise up before they suffer something akin to the South Korean film Pandora.
You might think that completely changing the course of a country’s energy policy is a difficult process, and you’d be right. Moon wants to do a lot of things, up to and including heavy taxes on their existing energy plants and the elimination of import tarriffs on natural gas, and these things need to be done carefully lest the political winds shift to his detriment.
Despite the difficulty, Moon’s insistence on environmentally friendly policies is a beacon to the world on how an industrialized nation can look out for the future of our planet.
3. The Netherlands: In True Dutch fashion: Windmills
And now, the Dutch, or as the world knows them: those with the flair for windmills.
We’ve all heard about wind turbines, but despite their clean power output, many consider their power output to be low when compared to more traditional energy solutions.
But the Netherlands aren’t having any of that talk. The nation set itself on the path to run all of its trains with renewable energy by 2018, and thanks to some 2,200 wind turbines across the country they made their goal with a year to spare.
Wind power may not be the solution to all energy needs, but it sure took care of that one. Our hats go off to the Netherlands for their achievement.
4. China: Cleaning up its Act
China has a bad reputation for having a lot of pollution, to the point that seeing citizens walking the streets with surgical masks on has become commonplace.
That sucks, but we’re not here to bash China. See, in response to that problem, the Chinese Government has announced the construction of the largest floating solar farm in the world.
A floating solar farm consists of rows of solar panels set on floating platforms in the ocean, and a flooded coal-mining town in the Anhui province has provided China with both the space to make their farm and some sweet irony.
This sounds very good, but I reserve a bit of skepticism until more information can be uncovered. Reportedly, the farm only produces 40-megawatts of power; enough for a couple of small towns, but hardly enough for a large city, much less an entire country.
Hopefully, more farms are being produced, but we’ll have to wait until more information comes out to know for sure.
5. The U.S.: Bottom of the List, but Don’t Count Them out
Ok, so the U.S. government pulled itself out of the Paris Climate Accords, but in a country like the U.S. the private sector makes its own choices. So while the government may be out, U.S. companies may be all in with the Paris Climate Accords.
Big names like Apple, Amazon, and Google started a campaign called “We Are Still In,” just days after President Trump made the announcement that the U.S. would be leaving the accord.
As you can imagine, the campaign signifies that the three tech giants are “joining forces” to declare their support for the Paris Climate Accords, citing the accord as a “key pillar in the fight against climate change.” You can see the whole missive provided by Recode over here.
Previously, many big companies bought “carbon credits” to offset their non-green energy needs. Personally, I don’t agree with offsets, but they are better than nothing. Of course, what’s even better than all that is going completely “carbon neutral“, just like Google plans to do by the end of this year according to a press release back in December of 2016.
Google’s plan is ambitious, sure, but ‘carbon neutral’ and ‘100% renewable energy usage’ aren’t the same thing, so don’t let that announcement fool you that Google’s work is done. That being said, getting started is a whole heck of a lot better than making empty promises, and for that, I have to give Google some well-deserved applause.
So the good news is that private companies are starting to make some real progress without the need for government assistance, leaving the lack of said assistance and the very real danger the world faces as the only things left in the ‘bad news’ pile.