damage of climate change

A study by an international team of scientists found that the economic damage of climate change could be six times higher by the end of this century than previously estimated.

Projections like this help governments around the world calculate the relative costs and benefits of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. However, prior analysis has shown that the models used may ignore important risks and therefore underestimate the costs.

Currently, most models focus on short-term damage, assuming that climate change has no lasting effect on economic growth, despite growing evidence to the contrary. Extreme events like droughts, fires, heatwaves and storms are likely to cause long-term economic harm because of their impact on health, savings and labour productivity.

The study authors first updated one of the three climate-economy models used to set the price of carbon for national policy decisions, then used it to explore the impact of year-to-year climate variations and the rates of economic recovery after climate events.

The study, that was published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, shows that by 2100, global GDP could be 37% lower than it would be without the impacts of warming, when taking the effects of climate change on economic growth into account. Without accounting for lasting damages – excluded from most estimates – GDP would be around 6% lower, meaning the impacts on growth may increase the economic costs of climate change by a factor of six.

Up to 51% of global GDP

Yet, there is still considerable uncertainty about how much climate damages continue to affect long-term growth and how far societies can adapt to reduce these damages; depending on how much growth is affected, the economic costs of warming this century could be up to 51% of global GDP.

“Climate change makes detrimental events like the recent heatwave in North America and the floods in Europe much more likely. If we stop assuming that economies recover from such events within months, the costs of warming look much higher than usually stated. We still need a better understanding of how climate alters economic growth, but even in the presence of small long-term effects, cutting emissions becomes much more urgent.”

The researchers also updated the model to take advances in climate science over the past decade into account, as well as the effect of climate change on the variability of annual average temperatures – both of which increased the projected cost of climate change.

The authors calculated the effect of these changes on the ‘social cost of carbon’ (SCCO2), a crucial indicator of the level of urgency for taking climate action that calculates the economic cost of greenhouse gas emissions to society. Expressed in US dollars per tonne of carbon dioxide, estimates currently vary greatly between $10 to $1,000. However, when taking more robust climate science and updated models into account, this new study suggests that the economic damage could in fact be over $3,000 per tonne of CO2.

“Burning CO2 has a cost to society, even if it is not directly to our wallets. Each person’s emissions could quite well result in a cost to humanity of over $1,300 per year, rising to over $15,000 once the impacts of climate change on economic growth are included,” Dr Brierley said.

Much higher than policy makers assume

While the findings show large uncertainties, the central values were found to be much higher than policymakers currently assume; the US government, for example, currently uses a social cost of carbon of around $51 per tonne to judge the costs and benefits of projects linked with greenhouse gas emissions, whilst the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, which covers power, manufacturing and aviation, recently exceeded €61 for the first time.

Study co-author Paul Waidelich (ETH Zürich) said: “The findings confirm that it is cheaper to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than it is to deal with climate change impacts, and the economic damages from continued warming would greatly outweigh most costs that could be involved in preventing emissions now. The risk of costs of damage of climate change being even higher than previously assumed reaffirms the urgency for fast and strong mitigation. It shows that choosing to not reduce greenhouse gas emissions is an extremely risky economic strategy.”

Source: UCL

 

lappeenranta green city

Four green cities, all Green Capital or Green Leaf winners, showcase their achievements during the European Week of Regions and Cities. To highlight the theme Green Transition they will present their cases during a special webinar.  The aim of the event is to show how forerunner green cities enhance the speed of their green transition by utilizing the European Recovery funding opportunities and European-wide networking possibilities.

Green Capital and Green Leaf cities are recognised for their commitment to ambitious goals and environmental standards. All the Green Cities has set the common objectives of the recovery: decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, productivity growth and raising the employment rate. At the workshop you will get to know the best practises of recovery and sustainability work of the cities of Lahti and Lappeenranta, Finland, Grenoble, France and Växjö, Sweden. Each presentation will have different angle to boost the recovery. Moderator of the webinar is Regional Director Europe Wolfgang Teubner from ICLEI.

City of Lahti develops carbon neutral construction

City of Lahti in Finland is the European Green Capital 2021. We have already abandoned the use of coal and will become a carbon-neutral city by 2025 as the first major city in Finland. Lahti is known as an agile research and development area for environmental technology, where the environmental monitoring, circular economy, land use and construction sectors cooperate seamlessly and efficiently. This enables the development and testing of interdisciplinary innovations on a practical scale. In Lahti, we are creating a product development, research and piloting platform for innovations in carbon-neutral and energy-efficient construction – covering the entire life cycle of buildings, from zoning to the utilisation of demolition materials.

The Carbon Neutral Construction Development Centre was established in Lahti in autumn 2020. City of Lahti is seeking solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of construction in both new and old buildings. The Centre focuses on global megatrends: renewable energy production, minimisation of energy use, recycling of demolition materials and use of organic materials in buildings as carbon sinks. It involves the City of Lahti and the city-owned construction companies, as well as the educational institutions and several companies in the area. During the presentation, director Juhani Pirinen will tell about some practical examples of the projects that the Carbon Neutral Construction Development Centre is working with.

Green cities play a key role economic recovery of Europe’s mountain region

Grenoble, European Green Capital 2022, is a city of 160.000 inhabitants in a densely populated valley in the French alpine mountain range. Back in 2005, we adopted France’s first climate action plan and are now seeking to turn Covid into an opportunity to accelerate the transitions with our neighbours in the valley and the mountains. Since 2014, for example, the city has been circularising the supply chain for the 11.000 meals it prepares daily for schools and care homes: local farms now provide organic, seasonal food, at least once per week vegetarian, with a 100% vegetarian option. As the next step, we would like to replace today’s plastics containers with cellulose-based ones made from local wood, suited for composting.

Whilst Grenoble acknowledges the need for electric vehicles, it believes that in the long term hydrogen, and already today natural gas from methanisation of waste, are good alternatives notably for public transport and logistics. Mountain regions are badly suited to being equipped with an EV infrastructure and EU-funded pilots have shown that green hydrogen produced with solar power could be a viable alternative. In the short term, Grenoble promotes bio-methane for public transport and heavy vehicles.

Mountains are often considered leisure playgrounds for skiing or alpinism. Since 15 years, Grenoble is working with its citizens for a wider scope that includes conservation, food, mountain culture, local value chains and responsible outdoor activities. Our tools are France’s biggest alpine movie festival, excursions for pupils from disadvantaged families, teaching children alternatives to downhill skiing, putting local products into the Christmas market etc. These actions also feed into the EU strategy for the Alpine Regions.

Climate City Contract leeds a way to climate neutrality

Växjö is a municipality of 95,000 inhabitants in the southern part of Sweden. It is a growing city surrounded by forests and lakes. Since early 1970’s Växjö has been on a path to steadily improve the environmental work, which is a unanimous focus among the political parties. Back in 1996, Växjö decided to become a fossil fuel free city, to be achieved in 2030. CO2 emissions are now at a level of approximately 1.4 tonnes per capita. This is a result of a strategic work, not at least with the energy production which is now totally from renewable energy sources. The commitment to reducing environmental impact made Växjö being the winner of the European Green Leaf Award in 2018.

In 2020, Växjö signed a Climate City Contract with a number of national authorities. This contract states that Växjö will speed up the transition to climate neutrality by 2030, as well as the authorities paving the way with necessary policy changes and support. The contract also acknowledges the importance of local and regional cooperation in order to be successful. This is no news to Växjö, who has a history of involving citizens, companies and the university in the climate work.

During our event, Deputy Lord Mayor Cheryl Jones Fur will talk about the Climate City Contract and how we will use it at local level to be successful.

Lappeenranta is working hard to green the electrification

Lappeenranta, the Climate Capital of Finland, has been chosen as one of the Greenest European Cities. European Green Leaf Award 2021 winner is full of high energy, out-of-the-box thinking and international expertise. Lappeenranta will be carbon neutral city by 2030.

We pioneer in renewable energy and clean environments with passionate problem-solving at our forte. In our university and tourist center, located in logistically important region in South-East Finland only 2 hours from Helsinki, near the border between the EU and Russia, we dare and do. The Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT, the innovative operating environment, skilled workforce and good networks in a city of around 73,000 residents make it easier to start up and expand international business operations.

Electrification will change the world, it’s industry and the way of economics. The world is looking for a new emission-free and reliable energy system. We are going to turn emissions into opportunities.

During the webinar, MP and member of the Lappeenranta City Council Hanna Holopainen will tell how local companies are set to reveal the most innovative solutions, how we are going to save the planet – and at the same time create growth in global business.  We can transform air and water into fuels, chemicals, materials and even into food.

With the know-how of local university Lappeenranta has become a center for energy and environment research, innovation and business. There are 3000 jobs related to cleantech and sustainable business in the region. City has made with the national government an innovation agreement to speed up the business on green electrification.  By combining renewable energy, water and carbon dioxide, we can produce fuels without emissions.

Webinar

The City of Lappeenranta (Finland), together with the cities of Lahti (Finland), Grenoble (France) and Växjö (Sweden), organises the How green cities lead the way to European recovery? -webinar on 13th October as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities 2021.

Webinar is held on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM (CET)

Please register here.

hydrogen transport
Storing energy as hydrogen is seen by many as a critical part of the energy transition and the road to net-zero emissions. That goes for hard-to-electrify transport applications as well as a wide range of industrial and domestic heating, cooking and other applications.

A new study and Well-to-Tank (WTT) model by Element Energy, commissioned by Zemo Partnership, identifies a range of pathways for the production, distribution and dispensing of low carbon hydrogen to transport end-users. It shows the energy requirements and greenhouse gas emissions resulting from each potential pathway, as well as the infrastructure requirements related to each choice.

32 pathways

The research looks at a combination of six production configurations, three distribution pathways, and two dispensing options – a total of 32 potential pathway combinations.

The work identifies the greenhouse gas emissions associated with each hydrogen supply chain pathway, based on technologies available today, as well as those expected to be commercialised in the medium-term such as offshore electrolysis, gas reformation with carbon capture and storage (CCS) and waste gasification with CCS.

It shows that fundamental choices exist in terms of the production of ‘green’ hydrogen using electrolysis powered by renewable electricity or ‘blue’ hydrogen, primarily produced by reforming fossil natural gas combined with CCS. It also looked at the implications of using biomethane in place of fossil gas and hydrogen derived entirely from biogenic waste.

The study also considers the energy use together with emissions arising along the full production, distribution and dispensing pathway, including unavoidable – or fugitive – emissions likely to arise during the process. It shows that there is a wide variation in the emissions associated with each of the alternative pathways, depending on the carbon footprint of the energy and feedstocks used.

Carbon negative possible

The work suggests that renewables-based electrolysis is expected to represent one of the lowest emissions pathways in the medium-term. Natural gas reformation using emerging autothermal (ATR) technology with CCS could also significantly reduce emissions compared to current industrial steam methane reforming (SMR) process for so called ‘grey’ hydrogen.  There are even potential pathways to generate carbon-negative hydrogen when biomethane is used, or through the gasification of waste, allied with CCS.

Whilst the study showed GHG emissions can be almost eliminated, improvements in the efficiency of the process of electrolysis are expected to contribute to a modest reduction in the energy intensity of this pathway in the medium-term.  There are opportunities to co-locate hydrogen production with renewable energy, using surplus or currently curtailed energy at times of high production/low demand.

The study provides a detailed model allowing new pathways to be assessed and gives an overview of the quality of the data used in the analysis, identifying areas where further work and monitoring is needed.

The study Executive Summary is available here and the full report here.

sustainable travel sweden

66.4% of consumers globally want to have a positive impact on the environment through their daily actions in 2021, according to a new report ‘Top Countries for Sustainable Tourism’, released by global market research company Euromonitor International.

According to the report, Scandinavia is leading by example in its engagement and progress towards sustainable travel, with Sweden ranked first, followed by Finland, Austria, Estonia, and Norway. These findings extracted from the new Sustainable Travel Index, developed by Euromonitor International, assess 99 country destinations through the lens of environmental, social and economic sustainability, country risk as well as sustainable tourism demand, transport and lodging.

“Sweden is a pioneer in lifecycle assessment research which is critical to understand the full impact of consumer behaviour and consumption patterns,” analyses Caroline Bremner, head of travel at Euromonitor International. The country is highly engaged with the Sustainable Development Goals and preserves the Arctic ice and permafrost to help stop climate change, aiming to achieve net zero emissions by 2045.

Other countries also show good progress in sustainable transport and lodging. Just outside the top 20 – featuring other European countries for the most part, such as Germany and France – we find New Zealand, Bolivia and Canada.

“There is globally a clear change in mindset and resistance in returning to a volume-driven travel and tourism model. Instead, stakeholders are rallying together to ‘build back better’ through value creation from sustainable tourism. As momentum grows in the run up to COP26, consumers, travel brands, destination marketing organisations and governments continue to align to avert the climate emergency,” concludes Bremner.

Euromonitor International is the world’s leading provider for global business intelligence, market analysis and consumer insights. From local to global and tactical to strategic, our research solutions support decisions on how, where and when to grow your business. Find the right report, database or custom solution to validate priorities, redirect assumptions and uncover new opportunities. With offices around the world, analysts in over 100 countries, the latest data science techniques and market research on every key trend and driver, we help you make sense of global markets.

Fotocredits: Martin Edström, Visit Sweden

IPCC report 6

The climate is changing in every region and across the whole climate system. That is the inevitable conclusion of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report.

Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years. However, strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change.

While benefits for air quality would come quickly, it could take 20-30 years to see global temperatures stabilize, according to the IPCC Working Group I report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis. The report was approved on Friday (August 6) by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that was held over two weeks starting on July 26.

The Working Group I report is the first instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed in 2022.

“This report reflects extraordinary efforts under exceptional circumstances,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. “The innovations in this report, and advances in climate science that it reflects, provide an invaluable input into climate negotiations and decision-making.”

Faster warming

The report provides new estimates of the chances of crossing the global warming level of 1.5°C in the next decades, and finds that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach. The report shows that emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1°C of warming since 1850-1900, and finds that averaged over the next 20 years, global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming. This assessment is based on improved observational datasets to assess historical warming, as well progress in scientific understanding of the response of the climate system to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

“This report is a reality check,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte. “We now have a much clearer picture of the past, present and future climate, which is essential for understanding where we are headed, what can be done, and how we can prepare.”

Every region facing increasing changes

Many characteristics of climate change directly depend on the level of global warming, but what people experience is often very different to the global average. For example, warming over land is larger than the global average, and it is more than twice as high in the Arctic.

“Climate change is already affecting every region on Earth, in multiple ways. The changes we experience will increase with additional warming,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Panmao Zhai. The report projects that in the coming decades climate changes will increase in all regions.

For 1.5°C of global warming, there will be increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons and shorter cold seasons. At 2°C of global warming, heat extremes would more often reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health, the report shows. But it is not just about temperature. Climate change is bringing multiple different changes in different regions – which will all increase with further warming. These include changes to wetness and dryness, to winds, snow and ice, coastal areas and oceans.

For example:

  • Climate change is intensifying the water cycle. This brings more intense rainfall and associated flooding, as well as more intense drought in many regions.
  • Climate change is affecting rainfall patterns. In high latitudes, precipitation is likely to increase, while it is projected to decrease over large parts of the subtropics. Changes to monsoon precipitation are expected, which will vary by region.
  • Coastal areas will see continued sea level rise throughout the 21st century, contributing to more frequent and severe coastal flooding in low-lying areas and coastal erosion. Extreme sea level events that previously occurred once in 100 years could happen every year by the end of this century.
  • Further warming will amplify permafrost thawing, and the loss of seasonal snow cover, melting of glaciers and ice sheets, and loss of summer Arctic sea ice.
  • Changes to the ocean, including warming, more frequent marine heatwaves, ocean acidification, and reduced oxygen levels have been clearly linked to human influence. These changes affect both ocean ecosystems and the people that rely on them, and they will continue throughout at least the rest of this century. For cities, some aspects of climate change may be amplified, including heat (since urban areas are usually warmer than their surroundings), flooding from heavy precipitation events and sea level rise in coastal cities. For the first time, the Sixth Assessment Report provides a more detailed regional assessment of climate change, including a focus on useful information that can inform risk assessment, adaptation, and other decision-making, and a new framework that helps translate physical changes in the climate – heat, cold, rain, drought, snow, wind, coastal flooding and more – into what they mean for society and ecosystems.

This regional information can be explored in detail in the newly developed Interactive Atlas interactive-atlas.ipcc.ch as well as regional fact sheets, the technical summary, and underlying report. Human influence on the past and future climate “It has been clear for decades that the Earth’s climate is changing, and the role of human influence on the climate system is undisputed,” said Masson-Delmotte. Yet the new report also reflects major advances in the science of attribution – understanding the role of climate change in intensifying specific weather and climate events such as extreme heat waves and heavy rainfall events.

The report also shows that human actions still have the potential to determine the future course of climate. The evidence is clear that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main driver of climate change, even as other greenhouse gases and air pollutants also affect the climate. “Stabilizing the climate will require strong, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and reaching net zero CO2 emissions. Limiting other greenhouse gases and air pollutants, especially methane, could have benefits both for health and the climate,” said Zhai.

solarboat

An electric boat that runs virtually endlessly on solar power –  that’s the dream that’s been driving David and Alex Borton for the last 17 years. Since 2004, the father-and-son team has been working to fulfil their vision, building several custom, patented, solar-electric boats under the brand name of Solar Sal.

This summer, the two of them completed what they believe to be the first-ever solar-electric boat voyage from Bellingham, Washington, to Juneau, Alaska.

They departed on Tuesday, 25 May, in their 27-ft wooden hull solar boat Wayward Sun and made landfall at Ketchikan, Alaska, 13 June, then continued up the coast at a more leisurely pace to Glacier Bay and Juneau, concluding the voyage on 8 July.

The electric boat is powered 100 per cent by solar energy with no fossil-fuel combustion engine at all on board. “People always ask us if we have any gas or diesel back up,” said Alex Borton, “but the sun rises every day. If our batteries get too low, we just wait.”

Wayward Sun, built by Devlin Boat in Olympia, WA, is propelled by a Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 electric pod drive with six Torqeedo Power 24-3500 lithium batteries.  There is a separate 12-volt system for lights, electronics and other DC-powered systems and an inverter for occasional AC loads, like making waffles. The batteries are charged from a 1700-Watt array of solar cells on the boat’s rooftop.

Better than expected

“The solar-electric system has more than exceeded our expectations,” said Alex Borton. “During the 45-day passage from Bellingham to Glacier Bay to Juneau, we were underway for 38 days. We averaged 32 nautical miles per day at an average speed of 3.7 knots. While some days we stopped early or left late because of weather, there were only two full days we didn’t travel at all due to high winds or dense fog.

“Even on a completely overcast day this time of year, we can travel at 2-3 knots during daylight hours without drawing on our batteries at all,” Borton said. “With direct sunlight, we can do 5 knots or more all day without any battery use. Most of the trip was overcast and it rained a lot. Some days we travelled slowly because we had to; other days we travelled slowly and charged the batteries while underway.”

No limits

“Most electric boats on the market today are limited by their battery capacity, which means they have to return to shore power to charge,” explained Borton. “Until recently, solar panels and batteries were just not capable of severing the tie to shore power, so it was only functional for extending range or for partial charging. But now, thanks to advances in solar cells and Torqeedo’s efficient electric drives and high-capacity batteries, it’s possible to produce a solar boat with reasonable speeds and accommodation that can continuously cruise without ever charging from the shore. If I had more time I would keep going for another 1000 miles.”

They navigated from Bellingham to Ketchikan using the inside passage, anchoring at night since they were not permitted to go ashore in British Columbia due to Canadian Covid-19 travel restrictions. “That was no problem for us,” said Borton. “We had lots of food, a cosy cuddy for sleeping below deck. And, of course, our solar boat doesn’t need refuelling.”

“This is an important validation of state-of-the-art solar-electric boat propulsion technology, and we have enjoyed following their daily progress on their blog,” said Mary Jo Reinhart, director of OEM and retail sales, Torqeedo, Inc.

You can see the progress reports with photos and video clips from Wayward Sun’s epic voyage at squarespace.com

green lahti

The carbon-neutral symphony orchestra of Lahti has played a piece titled “ICE” to endangered coastal cities. The piece can be heard only in places threatened by climate change and rising sea levels.

If climate change is not curbed, rising sea levels threaten to drown several coastal cities by 2050 and 2100. The problem is global and affects many cities from Jakarta and Sydney to New York.

That’s why the city of Lahti, the European Green Capital 2021, has donated a piece to the world to remind us of the dangers of climate change. The piece, titled “ICE” has been composed by Cecilia Damström and is performed by the world’s first carbon-neutral symphony orchestra, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dalia Stasevksa.

“ICE” is a part of Lahti’s European Green Capital year 2021 programme, as Lahti is the first city from Finland to be awarded the honorary title.

The piece can be listened to only in the 100 most endangered cities across the world, on the site https://greenlahti.fi/icemusic based on your browser’s IP address.

In “ICE” the Earth fights for its existence through each beat

The 10-minute piece starts with a peaceful harp melody which intensifies quickly. As the song continues, powerful rhythms with contrasting harmonies can be heard: the piece sounds like our planet is fighting for its existence.

– Through this piece I wanted to express how global warming as well as the collapse of ecosystems is destroying the Earth’s beautiful glaciers. The heart of the Earth is fighting for its existence through each beat, says the composer Cecilia Damström.

The title “ICE” refers to the In Case of Emergency emergency tag. The piece ends with a glimpse of hope: during the last seconds, the harp heard at the beginning can be heard again; finally, a small bell rings as a reminder that there is still a chance to influence the future.

Lahti carbon neutrality target for 2025

In the city of Lahti, the European Green Capital of 2021, multiple actions have been taken to cut emissions from energy production, transport, housing, and other consumption to combat climate change.

– The climate is in an undeniable state of emergency. The role of European cities in halting climate change is significant; slowing down climate change requires rapid action and commitment to carbon neutrality targets. That is why Lahti has set its carbon neutrality targets for 2025, says Mayor of Lahti Pekka Timonen.

You can listen to “ICE” from here.

ev demand electric car

European consumers are increasingly turning to electric vehicles as focus turns to the industry. Several initiatives from governments are inspiring the ev demand from consumers.

According to data acquired by Finbold, the demand for new passenger battery electric (all-electric) vehicles across Europe surged 231.58% between Q2 2020 and Q2 2021, from 63,422 to 210,298. The figures reflect a triple growth in demand for all-electric vehicles.

Elsewhere, demand for the hybrid electric vehicle also spiked by 213.54% to 541,162 representing the biggest growth for all new passenger vehicles in Europe. In total, the electric vehicle registration as of Q2 2021 stands at 751,460, a growth of at least three times from the Q2 2020 cumulative figure of 236,015.

During the period, plug-in hybrid vehicle demand surged 255.8%, from 66,252 to 235,730. Natural gas vehicles recorded demand of 41.84% from 9,515 to 13,497.

Furthermore, during the first half of 2021, battery electric vehicles recorded a share of 6.7% under new passenger cars by fuel type in the region. Hybrid electric vehicles had a share of 18.9%, while plug-in hybrids stood at 8.3%. Petrol accounted for the highest share at 42%, followed by diesel at 21.7%. Natural gas had a share of 0.5%.

Government incentives spurs EV demand

The report explains how different government policies contributed to the surge in demand for electric vehicles in Europe. According to the research report:

“For instance, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, most governments across the region focused their stimulus packages on companies that are operating in line with fighting climate change. Notably, a big part of the support focused on incentives for consumers to buy EVs, creating a surge in demand.”

Additionally, the demand emerged at a period, the electric vehicle industry suffered a chip shortage due to supply chain constraints due to the pandemic. However, the full impact will manifest later this year.

Read the full story with statistics here.

Behaving environmentally responsible makes people feel happy. That is the outcome of research by the Dutch Groningen University. 

While it is often suggested that individuals’ pro-environmental behaviors may be linked with their subjective wellbeing, the strength and direction (e.g. positive or negative) of this relation is unclear. Because pro-environmental behaviors impact peoples’ everyday lives, understanding this relation is critical for promoting long-term environmental solutions.

Using a series of meta-analyses, we systematically reviewed the literature on the association between individuals’ pro-environmental behaviors and their subjective wellbeing. The researchers hypothesized that the relation between pro-environmental behavior and subjective wellbeing would be positive and strongest among types of behaviors (e.g. sustainable purchase decisions) and indicators of subjective wellbeing which more clearly reflect personal meaning (e.g. warm glow). The researchers sourced studies via PsychINFO, PsychARTICLES, GreenFile, SocINDEX, Web of Science, and Scopus, as well as professional email lists, direct contact with authors who publish in this domain, data from the authorship team, and the European Social Survey (2016).

The researchers included studies with quantitative data on the relation between individuals’ pro-environmental behavior and their subjective wellbeing, ultimately identifying 78 studies (73 published, 5 unpublished) for synthesis. Across multiple indicators of pro-environmental behaviors and subjective wellbeing, we found a significant, positive relation (overall r = .243), and this relation did not meaningfully differ across study characteristics (e.g. sample, design). As predicted, the relation was particularly strong for indicators of pro-environmental behavior and subjective wellbeing which clearly reflect meaning, such as sustainable purchase decisions (r = .291) and for warm glow (r = .408).

The researchers found a robust, positive relation between people’s pro-environmental behaviors and subjective wellbeing, and initial evidence that this relation may be stronger the more clearly behaviors and indicators of subjective wellbeing reflect meaning. Our results indicate that program and policy-makers can seek opportunities to design ‘win-win’ sustainability programs which could positively impact both people and the environment.

Read the publication

fair tomato

Our awareness of problems with human rights arise mainly from the textile chains. But working conditions in other chains, such as the tomato chain, are also under pressure. The Dutch Central Bureau for Food Trade (CBL) and the Dutch trade union FNV are planning to conduct research into the production chain of the canned tomato trade. The research focuses on Italy, a major supplier of tomatoes. The aim is to identify by the end of July the specific risks of human rights violations in the tomato chain and which improvements are needed. Recommendations have been drawn up on how the Dutch participants in the chain can initiate positive change.

Various studies and risk analyses show that the tomato chain is a so-called high-risk chain. Jos Hendriks, director FNV Food Industry: “We are investigating the supply chain of canned tomatoes to determine the risks we face when it comes to violations of human rights, trade union rights and the environment and to identify who is involved. But the most important part comes after the research: how do we ensure that the guidelines of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) and United Nations with regard to people and the environment are applied in the cultivation, harvesting, transport and processing of the tomatoes?”

Guarding human rights

The CBL agrees with the importance of tackling the risks. Jennifer Muller, Sustainability Manager at CBL: “Dutch supermarkets find it essential that human rights are safeguarded throughout the chains. It is therefore important to investigate possible social abuses in the Italian tomato chain and to gain insight into the operational perspective of the parties involved. Collaboration is crucial for thorough research. We are therefore happy to join forces with the FNV to bring about positive change.”

Research into the share of Dutch producers and buyers

An important part of the research is mapping the share of Dutch producers and buyers in the Italian tomato chain. In this way, it is possible to better see in which component steps can be taken to improve the position of employees. This includes investigating the role played by supermarkets, manufacturers and organizations that issue quality certificates.