Daily Archives: May 5, 2016

  • Four Unexpected Champions of the Clean Transportation Revolution

    Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter
    Filed in Energy , Environment & Climate , on by Worldwatch Institute

    Greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector are growing faster than those from any other sector. With the transportation sector already accounting for nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, investing in public transportation is a critical strategy to address global climate change.

    Strategies to curb transport emissions, such as by transitioning to electric vehicles, depend primarily on pushing forward new efficiency-maximizing technologies for transportation networks and individual vehicles. Yet adoption rates have been slow, in part because vehicle owners and transportation providers lack the resources to finance the transition of their fleets.

    How Can the Transportation Transition Begin?

    Creative financing for the transport sector can be adapted from existing efforts to improve energy efficiency in buildings. The building sector has benefited from the involvement of ESCOs, or businesses that fund and install energy-saving equipment, charge the building owner a fee to pay back for this installation, and guarantee that the costs will not exceed the financial savings associated with the new product or system.

    Who Could Champion the Shift?

    A T-ESCO requires a handful of direct stakeholders, including: an entity interested and willing to play the part of the ESCO; a client or fleet manager interested in reducing energy consumption; and an ... Read More

  • Herbs Help Dairy Farms Abandon Antibiotics

    Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter
    Filed in Agriculture & Food , Healthcare & Nutrition , on by Worldwatch Institute

    Joining forces, dairy farmers in the Netherlands and Uganda are learning from Indian experts about using medicinal herbs to prevent animal diseases and reduce the widespread reliance on antibiotics for livestock.

    Many of us picture dairy farms with rolling green pastures and lazily grazing cows, but the vast majority of commercial dairy products come from intensive industrial farms optimized by modern technologies. Yet these “high-tech solutions” may also be the root of the industry’s main challenges.

    A common problem on dairy farms—especially large-scale industrial farms—is mastitis, an udder infection that is responsible for 16.5 percent of dairy cattle deaths in the United States. In addition to shortening the cows’ lifespans, mastitis results in the production of lower-quality milk, with lower cheese yield and a shorter shelf life.

    Dwindling Defenses

    The most urgent problem related to antibiotic overuse is the development of drug resistance—when bacteria evolve to become stronger “superbugs” that are able to survive subsequent antibiotic applications. This resistance makes it increasingly difficult to cure bacterial infections in livestock as well as in humans, since many human medicines rely on the same types of drugs being used for livestock. Losing the effectiveness of antimicrobials renders many medical therapies increasingly risky, including organ transplantation and ... Read More