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Environment and development AL-BIA WAL-TANMIA Leading Arabic Environment Magazine

314 - May 2024
Mathis Wackernagel
Mathis Wackernagel
There is no other possible future than a regenerative one

Najib Saab
After ‘Arab Spring Floods’: Do Not Use Climate Change as Excuse
Najib Saab
Will the spring floods that hit some Arab countries serve as a reminder of the power of nature and the inevitability of respecting its rules

Philipp Pratt
Your 'Eco-Friendly' Travel App Could Be Hurting the Environment, Say Experts
Philipp Pratt
Sometimes, the road to sustainability is paved with good intentions but littered with unforeseen consequences
Meet the
Najib Saab
Selected articles News
New Study: The price tag of phasing-out coal 15/5/2024
Coal phase-out is necessary to solve climate change, but can have negative impacts on workers and local communities dependent on coal for their livelihoods. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and Central European University in Austria have studied government plans for coal phase-out around the world and discovered that more than half of such plans include monetary compensation to affected parties. This planned compensation globally amounts to USD 200 billion, but it excludes China and India, the two largest users of coal that currently do not have phase-out plans. The study shows that if China and India decide to phase out coal as fast as needed to reach the Paris climate targets and pay similar compensation, it would cost upwards of USD 2 trillion. ...more
Toxic chemicals can be detected with new AI method 2/5/2024
Swedish researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg have developed an AI method that improves the identification of toxic chemicals – based solely on knowledge of the molecular structure. The method can contribute to better control and understanding of the ever-growing number of chemicals used in society, and can also help reduce the amount of animal tests. ...more
High-precision diaphragm metering pump makes the “Electrolysis Made in Baden-Württemberg” system demonstrator fit for industrial application 14/4/2024
Effective decarbonization of German industry – and with it, the achievement of the climate targets with a secure energy supply at the same time – is unthinkable without the expansion of hydrogen technologies. Since they are a carbon-free energy source, they do not release any emissions during combustion. Hydrogen is also suitable as a storage medium to compensate for fluctuations in renewable energy production, since it can be produced via electrolysis using any power source. As part of the "Electrolysis Made in Baden-Württemberg" project, which was completed in 2023, the Baden-Württemberg Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (ZSW) has now strengthened the region as a hydrogen location for the long term. With the participation of 40 companies, a scalable system demonstrator for alkaline pressure electrolysis with an output of 1 MWel was engineered. The pump specialist LEWA from Leonberg, Germany, also contributed to the success of the project: an ecoflow diaphragm metering pump with Ex motor feeds the water required for hydrogen production into the process. As of 2026, the system will continue to operate in the H2 GeNeSiS model region and feed hydrogen into the new pipeline along the Neckar River. ...more
Ammonia attracts the shipping industry, but researchers warn of its risks 5/2/2024
Switching to ammonia as a marine fuel, with the goal of decarbonisation, can instead create entirely new problems. This is shown in a study from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, where researchers carried out life cycle analyses for batteries and for three electrofuels including ammonia. Eutrophication and acidification are some of the environmental problems that can be traced to the use of ammonia – as well as emissions of laughing gas, which is a very potent greenhouse gas. ...more
Resource-efficient and climate-friendly with sodium-ion batteries 13/12/2023
The transition to a society without fossil fuels means that the need for batteries is increasing at a rapid pace. At the same time, the increase will mean a shortage of the metals lithium and cobalt, which are key components in the most common battery types. One option is a sodium-ion battery, where table salt and biomass from the forest industry make up the main raw materials. Now, researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, show that these sodium-ion batteries have an equivalent climate impact as their lithium-ion counterparts – without the risk of running out of raw materials. ...more
Benchmarks for Success for COP28 6/11/2023
Floods recently wreaked havoc in Libya, damaging critical infrastructure and killing more than 6,000 people. Wildfires in Canada burned 18.5 million hectares, an area the size of Syria. September 2023 set “gobsmackingly bananas” heat records that unsettled climate scientists. ...more
75 percent of exclusive hardwood may be illegally harvested 26/10/2023
The tropical wood type ipê is popular for building exclusive wooden decks, and in North America and Europe, the demand for the material has increased sharply. Now, a study from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, shows that more than three-quarters of all ipê from the top producing region in Brazil could have been harvested illegally. "The study reveals where in the chain the greatest risks lie. It can be a tool to counteract illegal logging," says Caroline S.S. Franca, PhD student at Chalmers. ...more
How mercury emissions from industry can be greatly reduced 4/7/2023
Sulphuric acid is the world’s most used chemical. It is an important reagent used in many industries and it is used in the manufacture of everything from paper, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics to batteries, detergents and fertilisers. It is therefore a worldwide challenge that sulphuric acid often contains one of the most toxic substances – mercury. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have now developed a method that can reduce the levels of mercury in sulphuric acid by more than 90 per cent– even from low levels. ...more
Gentle method allows for eco-friendly recycling of solar cells 13/4/2023
By using a new method, precious metals can be efficiently recovered from thin-film solar cells. This is shown by new research from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. The method is also more environmentally friendly than previous methods of recycling and paves the way for more flexible and highly efficient solar cells. ...more
Stadium 974: What happens next to the first temporary World Cup stadium? 12/12/2022
The World Cup's first temporary stadium will soon be dismantled after hosting seven matches in two weeks at Qatar 2022. ...more
'Doomsday glacier,' which could raise sea level by several feet, is holding on 'by its fingernails,' scientists say 6/9/2022
Antarctica's so-called "doomsday glacier" -- nicknamed because of its high risk of collapse and threat to global sea level -- has the potential to rapidly retreat in the coming years, scientists say, amplifying concerns over the extreme sea level rise that would accompany its potential demise. ...more
The audacious PR plot that seeded doubt about climate change 27/7/2022
Thirty years ago, a bold plan was cooked up to spread doubt and persuade the public that climate change was not a problem. The little-known meeting - between some of America's biggest industrial players and a PR genius - forged a devastatingly successful strategy that endured for years, and the consequences of which are all around us. ...more
Bottling the sun 14/6/2022
From a small hill in the southern French region of Provence, you can see two suns. One has been blazing for four-and-a-half billion years and is setting. The other is being built by thousands of human minds and hands, and is — far more slowly — rising. The last of the real sun’s evening rays cast a magical glow over the other — an enormous construction site that could solve the biggest existential crisis in human history. ...more
Ukraine's natural environment is another casualty of war. The damage could be felt for decades 23/5/2022
The pine forests around Irpin are Oleh Bondarenko's happy place. He discovered them as a child, when his mom sent him to the area for summer camp, and he has been coming back ever since. ...more
Tripling Renewables by 2030 Requires a Minimum of 16.4% Annual Growth Rate 12/7/2024
Record growth in renewables must be significantly topped up in the remaining 7 years to meet the UAE Consensus energy target set at COP28 ...more
Hydrogen flight looks ready for take-off with new advances 12/7/2024
The possibility of hydrogen-powered flight means greater opportunities for fossil-free travel, and the technological advances to make this happen are moving fast. New studies from Chalmers University of Technology, in Sweden, show that almost all air travel within a 750-mile radius (1200 km) could be made with hydrogen-powered aircraft by 2045, and with a novel heat exchanger currently in development, this range could be even further.   ...more
China is building two-thirds of new wind and solar globally, report says 12/7/2024
Almost two-thirds of big wind and solar plants under construction globally are in China, where surging renewable capacity has squeezed coal's generation share to new lows, research released on Thursday showed. ...more
US to fund lower-emission fertilizer with eye to greener ethanol 12/7/2024
The U.S. Department of Energy plans to spend $36 million on technologies to lower emissions from applying synthetic nitrogen fertilizer to corn and sorghum used in ethanol production, the agency said Thursday. ...more
Natural disasters in China caused $13 bln economic loss in January-June 12/7/2024
Natural disasters in China resulted in 93.16 billion yuan ($12.83 billion) worth of direct economic loss in the first half of this year, the government said on Friday, as the country suffered flooding, drought and extreme temperature. ...more
New EU Parliament less supportive of green agenda, documents show 11/7/2024
The next European Commission will no longer be able to rely on a broad consensus among lawmakers in support of ambitious climate change policies, with lawmakers split over whether to scrap or strengthen green measures, draft documents showed. ...more
New Zealand government unveils new climate strategy 11/7/2024
The New Zealand government on Wednesday announced plans to build more resilient infrastructure and boost clean energy production, as well as support for climate mitigating technologies and increasing forests as part of a new climate strategy. ...more
How can we help pregnant women better cope with heat? 11/7/2024
There's mounting evidence that heat is detrimental for pregnant women and their unborn babies. What can be done to protect them? ...more
Singapore has approved 16 insects to eat as food: here’s everything you need to know 11/7/2024
Singapore has taken the leap and approved 16 species of insect as safe for human consumption. ...more
‘All threats to the sea come from humans’: how lawyers are gearing up to fight for the oceans 11/7/2024
A rising number of lawsuits in courts around the world are holding governments and corporations to account for their treatment of the seas and those who rely on them. ...more
New US solar duties would raise costs and threaten climate goals, report says 10/7/2024
Solar panel prices could increase by as much as 66% if the U.S. puts new tariffs on imports from Southeast Asia, threatening the nation's goals for an energy source critical to combating climate change, according to an analysis published on Tuesday. ...more
US offshore wind will fall short of Biden's 2030 goal, analysis says 10/7/2024
The United States will fall far short of the Biden administration's 2030 offshore wind goal but will catch up quickly in the following years, according to an analysis by an industry group published on Tuesday. ...more
Philippines chosen to host climate 'loss and damage' fund board 10/7/2024
The Philippines has been chosen to host the board of the "Loss and Damage" fund created by U.N. talks, marking another step towards providing financial help for countries to recover and rebuild from the impact of global warming. ...more
Indonesia and US seal $35 mln coral reef debt swap 10/7/2024
The U.S. has agreed to forgive $35 million of Indonesian debt over the next nine years, the U.S. Treasury said on Monday, in return for the Southeast Asian country restoring and preserving coral reefs in what experts estimate is the world's most biodiverse patch of ocean. ...more
Net Zero Week 2024: How Coventry University Group is delivering innovative solutions to net zero carbon challenges 10/7/2024
The UK faces several challenges in achieving its net zero ambitions by 2050. Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Carl Perrin, highlights three of them and what we, at Coventry University Group, are doing to ensure a cleaner tomorrow.  ...more
Labour lifts Tories’ ‘absurd’ ban on onshore windfarms 9/7/2024
The Labour government is to end a de facto ban on new onshore windfarms, to the delight of environmentalists and energy experts. ...more
2024 could be world's hottest year as June breaks records 9/7/2024
Last month was the hottest June on record, the EU's climate change monitoring service said on Monday, continuing a streak of exceptional temperatures that some scientists said puts 2024 on track to be the world's hottest recorded year. ...more
Colombia deforestation fell to 23-year low in 2023 9/7/2024
Deforestation in Colombia fell 36% to a 23-year low in 2023, driven by declining environmental destruction in the Amazon region, the environment ministry said on Monday. ...more
Trophy hunter killings spark fierce battle over the future of super tusker elephants 9/7/2024
In the borderlands of Tanzania and Kenya, the “super tuskers” roam. A combination of old age, genetic pooling and prolonged protection from poaching has created a population of bull elephants with enormous tusks, weighing up to 45kg apiece, large enough to scrape along the ground as the animals walk. To many, the bulls are “living icons” of the African savannah. They are also highly prized by trophy hunters. ...more
EIB Survey: Finns most climate aware in EU 9/7/2024
The European Investment Bank poll assessed people's knowledge of climate change in three areas — definitions and causes, consequences, and solutions — with Finns topping the table. ...more
Gulf nations make significant strides in renewable energy integration 8/7/2024
Gulf countries, endowed with abundant solar and wind energy resources, have leveraged these assets to varying extents in their renewable energy portfolios, achieving significant progress toward their ambitious targets, according to Fitch Ratings. ...more
UAE-led Operation 'Green Justice' busts global criminal network in Amazon Basin, 25 arrested 8/7/2024
A regional law enforcement operation named “Green Justice”, which was coordinated by the International Initiative of Law Enforcement for Climate (I2LEC), has uncovered vast environmental crimes in the Amazon Basin. ...more
EU resists calls to delay deforestation law, letter shows 8/7/2024
The European Union has resisted calls from some industries and countries to delay its flagship policy to fight deforestation, a letter seen by Reuters on Friday showed. ...more
Germany gives apartment-dwellers legal right to solar power 8/7/2024
Germany's lower house of parliament has passed legal amendments allowing apartment owners and tenants to install solar systems on their balconies, as the country seeks to increase uptake of the energy form. ...more
Rewilding plan aims to bring majestic white storks to London 8/7/2024
White storks could soon be wheeling in the skies above London and building their huge nests among towers, flats and spires as a result of new rewilding plans. ...more
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