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the Tomorrow Times - August‘21

News > News about the future today

This month's news gives a glimpse into the latest IPCC report, with a focus on the needed actions and the growing transformations. From agricultural innovations in developing countries to the most exciting green technology pioneers of 2021, passing through the limits of circular economy, floating cities and surreal deep-sea creatures.

Stay curious, keep up to date, and get inspired, all in a quick read.

We open this edition by discussing the latest results of the 6th IPCC report, one of the most credible sources of climate science. The good news? There is still the possibility to intervene, but  that requires cooperation and everyone's contribution. The important thing is not to hide the problems, but  talk about the limits of our current models, and act in a dynamic and inclusive way. A major challenge of this century is meeting humanity's demands while conserving biodiversity, and mitigating and adapting to climate change. This is not just possible, it is potentially a scenario where everyone can benefit, from industries to individuals, communities, and natural ecosystems.

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Energy & Environment

  • Latest IPCC report’s verdict on climate change shows need for urgent action. The first part of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) was recently published. This report details how anthropogenic greenhouse gases are causing unprecedented damage but also that there's still time to act, showing how leaders can act. The verdict is now clear, posing no more doubts: humanity is the cause of current climate change. The United Nations says that there is no way for the world to meet its 1.5C warming goal without the leadership of the G20; on the other hand, a recent analysis found that G20 members are pursuing policies that could lead to cataclysmic climate effects. The main 5 findings of the report are summarized in this short video from the WEF.
  • Developing countries demand climate change initiatives. ‘No more excuses’ – 100 of the world’s lower-income nations are disturbed by the lack of climate action they’ve seen so far, according to the BBC. They’ve released a position paper setting out key issues that will be critical for upcoming discussions at COP26.
  • Solar-powered solutions save 30% of food waste. About 90% of Kenya’s agricultural produce comes from smallholders who can’t afford cooling facilities, resulting in more than 30% of their produce being wasted. Solar-powered cold rooms from SokoFresh can be deployed anywhere and shared among farmers boosting their earnings up to 50%. An example of how clever solutions can lead to ripple effects that involve economy, well-being and environment.

Business & Economy

  • Ikea and Rockefeller foundations in $10bn clean energy push. The two giants are making their biggest ever investments to start a fund that is expected to finance more than $10bn of small-scale renewable power projects, helping more than 1bn people.
  • Circular strategies can lower investment risk. A new research in collaboration with Bocconi University and Intesa Sanpaolo shows that the circular economy has a de-risking effect and drives superior risk-adjusted returns.
  • The limits of a Circular Economy.  A circular economy offers great possibilities for people, industries and governments, but it is still a man-made system and, as such, has limitations and challenges to be solved, as discussed in this Harvard Business Review’s article. Fortunately, the design of new systems can be malleable and adjusted as we learn on the way. Limitations must be discussed and analyzed to intervene dynamically and design solutions that are increasingly connected in a holistic way, in cooperation and not in silos. Radical collaborations –  willing to work with anyone who can help, even a competitor – are required.

Science, Technology & Design

  • A key property of life can be now detected from high altitude. Scientists have developed a new method to detect molecular homochirality from big distances. From supporting the search for extraterrestrial life to revealing information about the health of plants from a distance, this new invention could have positive impacts in several areas.
  • The most exciting green Technology Pioneers of 2021. The 2021 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers list has been announced; some of the most innovative and exciting green-tech pioneers. From lab-grown fish to food coatings you can eat. From zero-emissions flying to satellite data to verify reforestation, featuring a diverse and inclusive line-up.
  • Fertiliser to be produced naturally on a village level. A Kenyan company – Safi Organics – has developed a process that allows fertiliser to be produced on a village level, using locally available agricultural by-products to increase yields and sequester carbon. And although an excess of fertilizer from agriculture can create problems in waterways such as algal blooms and hypoxic, constructed wetlands could be the best natural protection for agricultural runoff, a new study found.

Urban Environment

  • The Maldives is building a floating city. The atoll nation of Maldives is creating an innovative floating city that mitigates the effects of climate change and stays on top of rising sea levels. Such innovative developments could prove vital in helping low sea-level nations fight the impact of climate change. A Dutch company is also testing the technology in the Netherlands.
  • Circular Economy in Canada. The transition to a circular economy requires collaboration and innovations from all stakeholders. Canada is finding a path to better growth, benefiting its people, businesses, and environment.
  • The circular European capital you haven’t heard about yet. The Czech capital of Prague has fast become a trailblazer in establishing a local circular economy. Circle Economy’s ‘Circle Scan’ analysed the material flows, GHG emissions and value generation of Prague’s economy to set priorities and measure the scale of issues.

Unexpected and Intriguing

  • 6 surreal views of new and rare deep-sea creatures.  In early June, a team of marine scientists sailed out in the west-central Pacific Ocean for 34 days, catching some unexpected images. A reminder of how amazing nature is and how it never stops to fascinate.
  • Understanding the driving force of innovation cycles. Business cycles operate under long waves of innovation. The sixth wave, marked by artificial intelligence and digitization across information of things (IoT), robotics, and drones, will likely paint an entirely new picture.
  • How music helps resolve deepest inner conflicts. Music can help us reconcile our conflicted emotions when making choices and can assist in overcoming cognitive dissonance.
  • The intriguing path of evolution. Evolutionary experiments with beetles show that sometimes Natural Selection opposes Sexual Selection.
  • Closing the loops documentary.  As part of Channel NewsAsia’s Climate for Change documentary series, the documentary ‘Waste not’ showcases innovators and companies revealing what the journey towards closed loops could look like.

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