Welcome to the first edition of Appropriate Future, a weekly review of the convergence of technology, sustainability, innovation, and public policy.
🌊 A new technique could enable the ability to harness sea water as an abundant source of renewable energy, researchers from McGill report. Blue energy is made using electrochemistry by having a concentration cell with salt water on one side and fresh water on the other. [▶️ Fergus Grieve in Futurity]
🤖 How drones, autonomous submarines, robotics and AI could be used to help reduce the environmental impact of offshore wind. [▶️ David Flynn via World Economic Forum]
🔌 Global data centers consumed about 1% of global energy use in 2018, and expected to triple or quadruple in the next ten years. Google (which consumes more energy than Sri Lanka or Zambia annually) powers their data centers with local wind and solar, as well as purchasing energy offsets, as do many other players in Big Tech. The next challenge in greening Big Tech will be scrutinizing their overseas supply chain. [▶️ Cabe Atwell in EET Asia]
🛢️ Twilight of the Dinosaurs: The fallout from May 26th — for ExxonMobil’s boardroom, and Royal Dutch Shell in the courtroom — which Bill McKibben called “Big Oil’s Bad Bad Day” continues to be a hot topic, perhaps until we can see whether this was indeed a tipping point, or a merely a roadbump. From Fast Company:
We’ll see the practice of publishing loosely defined environmental improvement goals replaced with science-based reduction targets demanded by shareholders and enforced by regulators. Monitoring, managing, and mitigating climate risks will be table stakes. And, as these companies begin to be held accountable for their carbon emissions, a dirty, but not so little, secret of carbon measurement will be exposed: Much of the carbon footprint information reported to date by this industry is, at best, unverifiable.
🏛️ G7 nations spend billions in lifelines to fossil fuel industries, with no renewable or sustainability conditions attached (Grist). Despite political talk of a Green Recovery, since the start of the pandemic G7 Nations provided money for fossil fuel industries with no strings attached, rather than with conditions requiring a reduction in emissions or pollution. Money to the aviation and car industries, for example, totaled $115 billion, of which 80 percent was given with no attempt to force the sectors to cut their emissions in return for the support. [ ▶️ Sandra Laville in Grist ]
The Good Links - or - (Find A) Reason To Believe
If tomorrow is like today, should we just wish for yesterday? (YouTube, The Linda Lindas)