News Press Review

Robot Bees Take Over: This Week’s 10 Biggest Climate Stories

Collage: Daily Planet
Collage: Daily Planet

Welcome to the 21 February 2017 edition of the Daily Planet’s weekly press review.

Catch up on the latest developments in the transition to the zero carbon economy with some of the biggest stories about climate change in this week’s State of the Planet.

1. This Danish school has installed the world’s largest solar façade.

A new building in Copenhagen is covered by 12,000 colourful solar tiles, making it one of the largest building-integrated solar power plants in Denmark. Aside from being the largest installation of its kind in the world according to the developers, the tiles are also architectural features in their own right according to the Daily Planet.

2. A Dutch railway operator has invested in Europe’s first hyperloop company.

A railway operator famous for running its trains on 100 per cent renewable electricity is investing in the winners of Elon Musk’s hyperloop competition, the Daily Planet reports.

3. Saudi Arabia plans to develop almost 10 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023.

OPEC’s top producer is looking at new ways to generate energy as domestic demand is surging in an effort to preserve its massive oil reserves for exports according to Bloomberg. “Renewable energy is not a luxury anymore,” Mario Maratheftis, chief economist at Standard Chartered, told Bloomberg, “If domestic use continues like this, eventually the Saudis won’t have spare oil to export.’’

4. United Arab Emirates says its climate change adaptation plans are basis of an industry worth billions

The goal is for Dubai to be at the ground zero of coming technological revolutions, potentially reaping billions of dollars in revenue down the line according to Deutsche Welle.

“Whereas many other governments are still trying to reconcile if climate change is even real – ignoring perhaps or willfully denying the facts around the science – the UAE is not only acknowledging this but trying to shift the dialogue onto a proactive footing,” Noah Raford of the Dubai Future Foundation told Deutsche Welle.

5. Robot bees could help pollinate if climate change continues to disrupt real bees.

“It is the first attempt by an engineer to deal with what many perceive as an impending agricultural crisis,” the Economist reports. The robot bees are being developed at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan. “In future, when you are walking through an orchard in bloom, listen out for the humming of the drones as well as the buzzing of the bees,” the Economist says.

6. You can now live-track the world’s progress on the sustainable development goals.

Built and maintained by UN Environment, a new online open data platform provides real-time open data access to policy makers and the general public, using distributed networks, cloud computing, big data and improved search functions.

7. Killing ‘zombie energy’ would keep more fossil fuels buried.

The complete removal of subsidies on the production of fossil fuels would cut a huge amount of greenhouse gasses between now and 2050, a new study confirms according to the Daily Planet.

“It’s no secret that coal, oil and gas companies are extracting fossil fuel from fields that would be uneconomical without government support – what we call ‘zombie energy’,” says Ivetta Gerasimchuk, lead author of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) report.

8. Solar panels make Morocco’s mosques a model for green energy.

A panel standing in front of the mosque in Marrakesh shows how much electricity is being produced by its solar panels and how much carbon has been avoided, Deutsche Welle reports.

“The big deal is to have people sensitized about energy efficiency –  seeing technology in the mosque, and then hoping they will install that technology in their houses,” a government official told Deutsche Welle. Of around 50,000 mosques in Morocco, the national government is responsible for energy and water in approximately 15,000 according to Deutsche Welle. The government plans power 600 mosques with renewable energy by 2019.

9. Engineers prepare new EU climate satellite’s solar panels for launch.

Engineers preparing the launch of Europe’s new climate data satellite say they have made improvements to its solar panels, the Daily Planet reports. The European Space Agency (ESA) says that despite the unexpected work the launch is still on schedule for 7 March at 1:49 GMT (2:49 CET or 22:49 local time on 6 March).

10. IKEA releases open source concept for a multi-level community garden.

It isn’t quite a hyperloop, but then again “all it takes is some sheets of plywood, some screws, and a bunch of friends to put it all together,” according to CleanTechnica. “The challenge is that traditional farming takes up a lot of space and space is a scarce resource in our urban environments,” IKEA says.

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