Urban China: the challenge and the hope

Shanghai-20311

An increasingly urban matter?

Humanity has become a predominantly urban species. This could not be truer in China, where the share of urban population went from only 19% in 1980 to 54% in 2014. Cities in China still today grow by roughly 12 million people every year. It is estimated that by 2030 they will house around 1 billion people – about 70% of China´s population. Clearly enough, if any meaningful action towards a more sustainable future is to be taken seriously, this will need to involve its cities.  While most Chinese cities are still affected by an incredibly high level of pollution, more and more people throughout the country are claiming their right to a “blue sky”. Could this growing public support joint with strong political leadership be the right drivers for rapid improvements in China´s environmental performance? 

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August 27, 2015   No Comments

Creating 100% renewable energy laws that are difficult to repeal

IMG_20150515_120103A little over two years ago, 10 international organisations had an ambitious idea. Building on the successes of 100% renewable energy regions and towns, they would take the concept to the world and promote the idea to a global audience. Looking at Germany, the Energiewende had become mainstream and had brought energy independence to millions of citizens through cooperatives, and small-scale renewable energy projects. The goal of the Global 100% RE campaign has been to mainstream this movement in other countries, and within a couple of years, the it had met many of its goals, with articles on 100% RE regions and cities popping up in major publications such as The Guardian and Cleantechnica. Governments across the world were taking notice; a movement had been born.

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August 14, 2015   No Comments

Solar power drives development in Tasslmante, Morocco

The CSP project NOORo next to the village of Tasselmante

Figure 1: The CSP project NOORo next to the village of Tasselmante

Tasselmante is located in the Province of Ouarzazate at the edge of the Sahara Desert. It is a small mud-brick village built with the colors of the desert soil. In Amazigh, the language of the indigenous Berber population, Tasselmante means “the safe home”. Many historic monuments, such as the famous fortified castles called Kasbahs bear testimony of the times when the historic region of Ouarzazate was home to powerful dynasties reigning over Morocco. Today, however, these times are long gone. Green fields with fruits, dates and almonds as well as flourishing trade routes have turned into dried-up springs and streams, perished palm oases and abandoned farmland. While the Government of Morocco has made socio-economic development its primary national priority, until recently, the region was politically neglected and economically isolated. It is marked by some of the nation’s poorest infrastructures, concentrated poverty, high unemployment rates, and rural exodus. Additionally, the region is highly vulnerable to environmental stressors from climate change. Consecutive years of drought, erratic rainfall patterns, desertification, and water scarcity are now regular phenomena and pose severe threats to the people’s livelihoods.

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August 12, 2015   No Comments