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December 03, 2015

Climate Change

India unveils global solar alliance of 120 countries at Paris climate summit

India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has launched an international solar alliance of over 120 countries with the French president, François Hollande, at the Paris COP21 climate summit. He told a press conference that as fossil fuels put the planet in peril, hopes for future prosperity in the developing world now rest on bold initiatives. “Solar technology is evolving, costs are coming down and grid connectivity is improving,” he said. “The dream of universal access to clean energy is becoming more real. This will be the foundation of the new economy of the new century.” Hollande described the project as climate justice in action, mobilising public finance from richer states to help deliver universal energy access. The Indian government is investing an initial $30 million in setting up the alliance’s headquarters in India, with the eventual goal of raising $400 million from membership fees, and international agencies. (Guardian)


Elon Musk says robust carbon tax would speed global clean energy transition

Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, believes the widespread introduction of a carbon price could halve the time it takes the world to transition to clean energy and make a huge difference to the impact of climate change. Addressing students at the Sorbonne University on the sidelines of the Paris climate summit, the renowned innovator said the obvious solution to runaway global warming was to remove the effective subsidy of not pricing the damage done by carbon pollution, urging the students to campaign and lobby governments to implement the policy. “To make it neither a left nor right issue we should make it a revenue-neutral carbon tax – increasing carbon tax and reducing tax in other areas like consumption taxes or VAT and in order to give companies time to react it should be a phased in approach,” he said. The alternative, he said, was “more displacement and destruction than all the wars in history combined… the dumbest science experiment in history”. (Guardian)


UK Labour party would issue kitemark for ‘responsible’ firms

A kitemark for firms that honour their taxes and pay “decent” wages would be issued under Labour, new UK shadow chancellor John McDonnell announced today in his first speech to London business chiefs. The “Good Business” mark would assure customers and suppliers that they were not “wriggling out of making the fair contribution the rest of us make”. In his first speech to London Chamber of Commerce, left winger Mr McDonnell insisted he was not against the private sector, saying: “Businesses create a huge value.” But business groups hit back at his proposals: Adam Marshall from the British Chambers of Commerce said governments “can’t and should not make moral judgments on what represents a ‘good business’”, adding, “Let’s have their customers, suppliers and wider society be the judges – not politicians.” (Evening Standard; City A.M.)

Community Investment

Survey: Over half of British workers would sacrifice time and money to volunteer overseas

Results from a UK online poll show that over half of British full time workers would freely volunteer their skills to fight poverty in a developing country, if they had the support of their employer. Ahead of International Volunteer Day, leading international development charity VSO surveyed 3,000 professionals from sectors such as Finance, IT, Business and Engineering. Overall, 56 percent of respondents would volunteer overseas if they had a job to come back to, rising to 61 percent for those who earn between £20,000 and £40,000. The majority said they would consider volunteering as part of a group. Chris Walker, Director of VSO Knowledge Exchange, which matches skilled employees with volunteering opportunities, said: “We are clearly still just scratching the surface regarding the potential of corporate employee volunteering” (VSO International)

Technology & Innovation

Boeing and Canadian aviation industry to launch aviation biofuel project

Boeing, the University of British Columbia and SkyNRG, with support from Canada’s aviation industry and other stakeholders, are collaborating to turn leftover branches, sawdust and other forest-industry waste into sustainable aviation biofuel. A consortium that includes Boeing, Air Canada, WestJet, Bombardier, research institutions and industry partners will assess whether forest waste could also be harnessed to produce sustainable aviation biofuel using thermochemical processing. “Sustainable aviation biofuel will play a critical role in reducing aviation’s carbon emissions over the long term,” said Julie Felgar, managing director of Environmental Strategy & Integration in Boeing Commercial Airplanes. A 2015 Boeing-sponsored study by UBC found that aviation biofuel made from forest waste could meet 10 percent of British Columbia’s annual jet fuel demand. (PR Newswire)

Image Source: OnInnovation Intervew: Elon Musk by Michelle Andonian / CC BY-ND 2.0