1: Carbon labels fail to communicate persuasively, says new report
When was the last time you offset your carbon emissions? This may well be because the carbon labels fail to communicate. Research from Stefan Gössling and Ralf Buckley shows that carbon labels suffer from shortcomings in the presentation of information, and explain how such shortcomings can be overcome.
Results indicate that even if tourists care about their climate change impacts, carbon labels are currently ineffective because of deficiencies in communications.
Labels do not provide information that individuals can understand. Factual knowledge is primarily kg CO2 or CO2-e, per person or per unit distance/ consumption, with rankings and colour-coded infographics. Fewer labels provide information to compare performance against similar products, and even fewer explain the effectiveness of the saving, i.e. the actual savings or impact avoided.
2: Coral reefs facing warming waters, increased bleaching
A new NOAA outlook shows that many coral reefs across around the world will likely be exposed to higher-than-normal sea temperatures for an unprecedented third year in a row, leading to increased bleaching – and with no signs of stopping.
This third global coral bleaching event began in mid-2014 is ongoing. Global warming, coupled with an intense El Nino, continues to make this the longest and most widespread coral bleaching event on record. Since its onset, all U.S. coral reefs have seen above normal temperatures and more than 70 percent of them have been exposed to the prolonged high temperatures that can cause bleaching. Studies have shown that about 93 percent of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef was bleached as of this April.
3: Airbnb partners with Solar City to bring solar energy to home sharing
Home sharing website Airbnb has launched a partnership with leading US solar power provider SolarCity Corp that seeks to connect Airbnb hosts and guests with an affordable and sustainable way to power their homes with solar energy. Through the partnership, SolarCity will offer members of the Airbnb community a rebate – up to $1,000 cash back – on all solar panel systems. The rebate is available to Airbnb members in each market where SolarCity currently operates, and homeowners can choose the solar option that works for their homes.
“Since 1998 we have had 15 of the 16 hottest years recorded and climate change is changing the way we make decisions – everyone is thinking about making better use of what we have,” said Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s Head of Global Public Policy & Communications. “Travelers, especially millennials, want a more sustainable choice and homeowners want to make better use of the 13 million empty houses and 36 million empty bedrooms in the United States alone.”
4: E-toolkit launched to help hotels reach nearly zero-energy consumption
Launched by the UNWTO, the neZEH e-toolkit evaluates the energy performance of hotels through a questionnaire and identifies options for energy efficiency, including efficient use of non-renewable sources, while raising awareness on the topic through inspiring examples.
The project aims to support hotels in Europe to comply with nearly-Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB) regulations, which all EU Member States are required to meet by 2020. An nZEB-level building must demonstrate high levels of energy performance. The nearly-zero, or very low, amount of energy required should be generated to a very significant extent by renewable energy sources, including those produced onsite or nearby.
5: Behavioural economics can nudge pilots into greater fuel efficiency finds study
Virgin Atlantic has partnered with leading academics at the London School of Economics and the University of Chicago, to devise a new approach to delivering standard fuel and carbon efficiency information to pilots. This innovative, evidence-based approach resulted in savings of 21,500 tonnes of carbon, and £3.3 million in fuel costs.
Working collaboratively with academics, Virgin Atlantic’s fuel efficiency and sustainability teams developed a process that increased Captains’ awareness of the measures they could take to improve on fuel efficiency. There are a number of things pilots can potentially do to improve fuel consumption and carbon efficiency, which has traditionally been presented to them through training and on-board manuals.
To learn more about the Captains’ Study, visit www.virgin-atlantic.com/changeisintheair and click on the ‘What’s going on’ news page.
6: Sherpas warn of growing risks of climbing Everest
Safety concerns have become more acute in the face of climate change, which is making mountains in the region riskier to climb.
Scientists have connected the growing pattern of increasing avalanches and ice falls on Everest with global warming.
The speed of glacier melt in the Himalayas has been fiercely debated. In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fourth assessment report, erroneously reported that Himalayan glaciers could disappear as early as 2035.
However, new research published by the European Geosciences Union(EGU) journal last year, showed that the 99% of glaciers on the Mount Everest region will disappear by the end of the century.
Older members of the Sherpa community have been advocating climate action for some time.
“Climbing Everest has been harder because of unpredictability of weather and melting of ice. For instance, most climbers returning in May see many bare rocks with less ice now, which many say wasn’t the case more than a decade ago,” said Purna Sherpa.
“Shapes of ice masses are changing faster and every year we have to search alternative options while preparing the way for the climbers.”
7: First 100% solar-powered five-star resort opens in Maldives
Finolhu Villas, on Kaafu Atoll in The Maldives, was designed by Yuji Yamazaki to have as little impact as possible on the pristine environment that surrounds it. Set on a 13-acre island, it is “an example of how energy independence can be achieved even in a challenging environment for development.”
The hotels solar panels generate around a megawatt of energy per day – more than needed to power the entire resort. Excess energy is stored for rainy or cloudy weather.
The island also has a desalination tank that yields a self-sufficient water supply, an efficient waste management system, and landscaping designed to minimize erosion.