YOUR WEEKLY BRIEFING FROM PARLEY
Yale Environment 360 recently featured a great deep-dive on the current state of the world’s recycling industry, following China’s ban on waste imports. As they report, the country’s decision to no longer be the dumping ground for the world’s waste has left municipalities and waste companies from the US to Australia scrambling for alternatives – but experts say it offers an opportunity to develop better solutions for a growing throwaway culture.
Over the coming decade, as many as 111 million tons of plastics will have to find a new place to be processed or otherwise disposed of as a result of China’s ban, according to engineering professor Jenna Jambeck. While this means many places are burning and dumping more plastic in the short term, there is a potential upside. China, with its high volume of imports, had been the source of more than a quarter of the world’s mismanaged waste. So if proper alternatives are found, says Jambeck, plastic pollution could actually decrease.
YOUTH CLIMATE STRIKE
Hundreds of thousands of children are expected to walk out of their classrooms today for a global climate strike amid growing anger at the failure of politicians to tackle the escalating ecological crisis. Students in more than 100 countries are due to take part in the walkouts, which began last year when one teenager – Greta Thunberg – held a solo protest outside the Swedish parliament. Since then the climate movement has snowballed, with schoolchildren on every continent except Antarctica taking part.
A team of scientists working off the tip of southern Chile got their first live look at what might be a new species of killer whale. Called Type D, the whales were previously known only from beach strandings, fishermen’s stories, and tourist photographs. Genetic samples the team collected will help determine whether these whales are indeed new to science. They would be “the largest undescribed animal left on the planet and a clear indication of how little we know about life in our oceans” said a NOAA researcher.
The logistics arm of IKEA has teamed up with French shipping group CMA CGM and others to test the use of sustainable marine biofuel oil on board a modern container ship. The biofuel to be used has been developed by GoodFuels and can be used without any engine modifications. The fuel is completely derived from forest residues and waste oil products, and is expected to deliver 80-90% CO2 reduction compared to fossil fuel equivalents and virtually eliminate sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions.
A top US official told a group of fossil fuel industry leaders that the Trump administration will soon issue a proposal making large portions of the Atlantic available for oil and gas development, and said that it is easier to work on such priorities because Donald Trump is skilled at creating public and media distractions. His administration is moving to permit seismic surveys in the Atlantic, a controversial practice that can harm or potentially kill marine creatures, including dolphins, whales, fish and zooplankton.