World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

filtered by category: Climate Change

  • Date: 28 October 2020

Thermal energy emissions from industrial production may be the largest remaining unaddressed climate challenge you never heard of. Well, that’s about to change. Industrial thermal energy generates 11% of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—more than the entire US agricultural sector. Globally, energy used for heating and cooling is 50% of final energy use and contributes 39% of greenhouse gas emissions from energy-related sources.

Not surprisingly, for many years decarbonizing industrial energy took a back seat to the big challenges of developing and deploying renewable electricity in the power sector, as well as electric vehicles and new mobility strategies in transportation. With economic tailwinds now driving rapid commercialization and deployment in these sectors, it’s time to turn our collective attention to renewable energy solutions for industrial production, including hydrogen, biogas, biomass, electrification, and solar thermal among others.

Building on WWF’s successful efforts to mobilize large corporate electricity buyers to use their collective demand to make it easy to buy renewable electricity, WWF, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), and David Gardiner and Associates formed the Renewable Thermal Collaborative in 2017. The RTC is a unique buyer-led coalition of major commercial and industrial energy buyers and sellers dedicated to collective action to solve the thermal energy challenge. RTC gives large thermal energy buyers "power in numbers," where they can learn from each other and collaborate with everyone needed to identify and overcome the many technological, market, financial and policy challenges to renewable energy solutions.

In the past three years, RTC members and technology providers have uncovered barriers, identified promising opportunities and are creating collective strategies for tackling those barriers. Several leading RTC members have successfully invested in renewable thermal solutions with significant emissions and cost savings. The cost of many renewable and low carbon thermal technologies is dropping, though we have a long way to go before thermal solutions match our progress on renewable electricity. That’s why RTC is convening the first annual RTC Summit from November 9-10, 2020.

The Summit offers a unique opportunity to join this growing community where you can learn from industry leaders about current and emerging technologies, connect with corporate peers and experts about barriers and opportunities in the renewable thermal market, and understand the policy landscape and what still to be done.

Over the course of the Summit, RTC members and stakeholders from across the corporate, technology, finance, innovation, and policy sectors will explore how to overcome the barriers faced by renewable thermal solutions, how to drive implementation, and develop lasting networks that will put us on the path to reducing industrial sector thermal emissions by 30% by 2030 and full sector decarbonization by 2050.

Register now and join your peer companies in this growing corporate renewable thermal movement. Please reach out to Marty Spitzer to learn more about RTC and the Summit.

  • Date: 11 June 2020
  • Author: Elan Strait, Director, US Climate Campaigns

The United States has not had a consistent role or leadership voice when it comes to the global response to climate change - leading the negotiations on Kyoto, and then withdrawing; leading the negotiations on Paris, and then withdrawing. But beneath that instability lies a consistent and positive trend in the actions of everyday people and their communities, a strong and growing desire for America to rise to the climate challenge. Last week marked the third anniversary of President Trump's announcement of his intent to withdraw the US from Paris. The world looks remarkably different than it did then, and many of us are grappling anew with the pervasive and debilitating forces of racism and the rolling devastation of the coronavirus. Today, we want to celebrate positive trends in climate action, specific to the role of non-federal actors, that have continued unabated during that time and have the potential to scale.

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  • Date: 11 March 2020
  • Author: Lisa Frank

At Lisa Frank Inc, nature is one of our greatest inspirations, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. We produce art filled with adorable creatures and vivid colors to celebrate animals and wildlife. There's a special feeling of joy and awe that fills you up when you think of the majestic creatures that roam our planet. That feeling is what Lisa Frank always tries to capture with our designs.

For animal lovers, including so many of the Lisa Frank fans and followers, the past several months have been incredibly tough. The wildfires in Australia were so widespread and so devastating. The terrible toll these fires have taken on people, animals, and nature, is almost too much to bear. But even in the face of something so horrible, we can't give in to feelings of hopelessness. While most of us may not be firefighters or environmental scientists, every single one of us can do something to help.

In Lisa Frank's case, that means using the power of our designs and the reach of our business to raise funds for World Wildlife Fund to help with restoration and recovery efforts in Australia. We also want to give the Lisa Frank audience, especially our youngest fans, an easy way they can contribute and help make a difference.

To support this important cause, we issued a collection called, "I heart; Koalas." It's a design in classic Lisa Frank style, full of whimsy, color, and joy. While our motivations for starting this campaign are heartbreaking, we deliberately wanted to use an image that would give our fans that same warm, fuzzy Lisa Frank feeling. Our design reminds people why they care about wildlife, sparking them to contribute to the effort out of joy, love, and hope, not out of fear or sadness.

While the reality for wildlife on our planet isn't always sunshine and rainbows, it's so important that we continue to celebrate the love we have for nature, focusing on what we can save and restore, rather than what we've lost. This attitude is shared by World Wildlife Fund, which is why we're so excited to support them through this project. We want Lisa Frank's fans to know that there's a role for everyone to help, both with the recovery effort in Australia and with conservation around the world. Any individual -- and any business, including ours -- can do their part. And together by showing how much we care about wildlife, each of our efforts can add up to something incredible.

  • Date: 13 February 2020

The United States must achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050, if the world has any hope of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees - the level at which the world can likely avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. WWF believes that national legislation setting a price on carbon, as well as a mandatory net-zero target for 2050 or earlier - with intermediate targets between now and then - is essential to charting a durable and ambitious pathway for the whole country. Such an approach would require the federal government to use every tool at its disposal - existing authorities under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, budgetary authority with respect to transportation and other sources, research and development capacity, and many more - to transform the energy economy in the United States. The roadmap released today by the Climate Leadership Council (CLC), of which WWF-US is a member, is a good step in the direction of achieving this vision. It advances a clear framework that can help set the stage for bipartisan climate negotiations - but more work remains.

As WWF continues to engage with the CLC and others in Congress, the private sector, and civil society who are working to craft a lasting national climate policy, we will be guided by the following criteria:

America’s national climate policy should:

  • Reduce emissions by 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, and
  • Achieve greater than net-zero emission levels by 2050 at the latest.

WWF supports a policy approach that:

  • Creates a legally mandatory pathway to our emissions goals,
  • Provides for a just transition for all Americans, and
  • Respects the rights of indigenous people and frontline communities in the United States.

The right policy approach will combine the following mechanisms:

  • A price on carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions,
  • Complementary regulation, particularly of air pollution from mobile sources,
  • State programs that provide locally appropriate approaches to reducing emissions, and
  • Support for voluntary initiatives, such as those taken by the private sector to set and achieve science-based emissions targets.

The CLC roadmap aligns with some of these criteria but not all. Specifically, WWF has concerns about preempting, suspending, or repealing EPA’s authority to regulate stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, under a national climate policy, the EPA would need to be strengthened and fully funded, using every authority available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In our ideal policy design EPA would:

  • Have the authority to regulate sources of emissions from stationary sources on both climate and environmental justice criteria;
  • Continue to set and enforce regulations for mobile sources, and efficiency programs for appliances, lighting, and buildings;
  • Measure and evaluate the emissions that inform a carbon price;
  • Cooperate with states and local governments on setting climate plans; and
  • Enforce binding targets for emissions reductions.

The need for an ambitious and binding climate policy is urgent. The lack of a proper national response from the wealthiest nation on Earth to our greatest existential threat drains ambition from the global community at a moment when we need to move farther and faster than ever.

The CLC roadmap matters because it provides a forum for a range of voices from across sectors – including many that have traditionally been at odds with each other – to discuss a way forward on addressing the climate crisis. WWF thanks CLC for advancing this discussion and looks forward to being a constructive voice in the months ahead.

  • Date: 09 January 2020
  • Author: Jason Clay

The Markets Institute at WWF identifies global issues and emerging trends around the most pressing challenges of our time to help us all learn and shift faster. As always, we'll be tracking a wide variety of food and soft commodity issues, trends, and tools as we move into 2020, dubbed the super-year for the environment. We know we will see more political volatility and financial crises, and the impacts of climate change to not only be felt more deeply but also recognized for what they are—a ticking time bomb for the future so long as they are not addressed. Here are just a few of the other issues, trends and tools we will be tracking this year:

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  • Date: 08 November 2019
  • Author: Christa Anderson, Global Science Research Fellow, WWF

I got ready for work this morning in the dark, and before the sun came up here in California, I went outside to position my two portable solar panels in the direction of sunrise. Recently, this has been my morning routine. The power has been out at my house as part of widespread shutoffs initiated by my electric company, Pacific Gas & Electric (PCG), as a safety measure to prevent the company’s power lines from causing fires during a string of exceptionally windy days. Large fires in recent years have led to bankruptcy for PCG and financial mayhem as fires burn anew. In the many news reports covering the power shutoffs, some say the primary cause is poor management by PCG, while others point to climate change as a source of more dangerous fire conditions.

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  • Date: 25 September 2019
  • Author: Lauren Spurrier, vice president, ocean conservation

A new UN report warns the world that as climate change heats up the oceans and ice sheets and glaciers melt, one billion people who live in low-lying coastal areas will be at risk rapid sea-level rise. But there is something we can do—spend money on saving mangroves. And it’s a smart investment.

A recent report by the Global Commission on Adaptation calculates mangroves yield $1 trillion in net benefit for climate adaptation, which would be gained by 2030 if we began investing in conservation soon.

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  • Date: 23 September 2019
  • Author: David Kuhn, Senior Program Officer, Climate Resilience

In the leadup to Climate Week, WWF and its partners recognize that the world urgently needs to be made more resilient to climate change. The myriad challenges that climate change poses to agriculture, ecosystems, and communities demands action from a broad set of stakeholders, including the private sector. But many conservation and sustainability approaches are simply not enough today because they were designed for a climate that no longer exists. Achieving the conservation goals of the future requires a new approach where we are constantly adapting and building resilience—the inherent and continued ability to recover from shocks and stressors—in a future of constant change.

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  • Date: 19 September 2019
  • Author: Sheila Bonini, Senior Vice President, Private Sector Engagement

The climate crisis is the defining environmental issue of our time – and the greatest threat to WWF’s global conservation efforts.

It’s been three years since the landmark Paris Agreement. We are now facing the true test of whether countries take action to ensure global emissions peak by 2020 and commit to setting science-based climate commitments every five years after that to slow and adapt to climate change.

While there’s been some progress - U.S. emissions trended downwards in recent years in part due to state, city, and business actions and more companies than ever are setting Science Based Targets - it’s clear that more must be done. The climate has already increased by 1 degree from pre-industrial levels and we need to pick up the pace of change to achieve a 2 degree future, let alone the 1.5 degree pathway needed to avoid the extreme impacts of climate change.

Every September, heads of state, activists and business executives meet in New York for the annual UN General Assembly meetings and Climate Week to share ideas and champion progress. This year, the world is coming together at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit to spur ambitious climate action by all parts of society.

WWF will be leading the charge in advocating for a 1.5 C degree future - a zero carbon inclusive economy that provides wellbeing for all, is powered by renewable energy and is sustained by nature.

We’re mobilizing our activists as part of the Climate March, advocating for climate policies with government leaders, and co-chairing the Ambition Advisory Group, a working group that is actively shaping Summit workstreams to ensure the event collectively raises global action at a necessary scale.

WWF will also spend the week engaging business in a dialogue around how to set commitments into action. As part of these efforts, WWF is hosting events on climate resilience, grasslands and other nature-based solutions, deforestation-free supply chains, and more. To learn more about WWF events and to register, please go to WWFEventsDuringUNGA.eventbrite.com.

Throughout the week, we will share our insights about this important gathering. This moment requires a transformational movement, with everyone at the table, and we hope you will join us.

  • Date: 18 September 2019
  • Author: Center for Responsible Travel

On September 27, tourism organizations, businesses, and NGOs will gather for the third annual World Tourism Day Forum in Washington, DC, hosted by the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) and the Organization of American States. Impact Tourism: Giving Time, Talent, and Treasure, being held at the United States Institute of Peace, will focus on successful travel giving programs for a wide range of business and destination types, sharing best practices and inspiring stories of impact. Recognizing that “doing good” does not always mean “doing right,” the forum will also examine the downsides of inappropriately implemented travel giving and voluntourism programs.

Giving back to the environment will be a key focus at this year’s World Tourism Day Forum, with businesses and organizations like Intrepid Travel, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and others sharing how their travel programs can positively impact our planet’s finite resources. But what about environmental impacts of the event itself? Is it possible to share these important lessons while also mitigating the waste and carbon generated when you bring a global audience of 200 people into one room?

The World Tourism Day Forum’s hosts believe it is critical to reduce the environmental impacts of conferences. “If we’re going to come together to talk about these issues, we have to be ‘walking the walk’ at the event itself,” said Samantha Bray, CREST’s Managing Director.

From housing the forum at a LEED Gold-certified building to using 100% recycled and recyclable programs, every step of this year’s planning process was undertaken with sustainability in mind.

Here are three major sustainability strategies being used at the 2019 World Tourism Day Forum:

  • Food waste reduction: WWF’s Food Waste team worked with the hosts to make the forum a reduced waste event, with a focus on landfill diversion (composting), food recovery, and food waste prevention. The event will be catered by Seasons Culinary Services, which works to minimize plastic, reduce waste, and use organic and local products for all events.
  • Carbon offsetting: CREST and the OAS worked with sponsor CarbonFund.org to calculate the carbon footprint from event operations and participant travel, making this a carbon-neutral event. The offset will go towards the New Bedford Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project in Massachusetts, supporting the production of clean electricity while also reducing the amount of methane released into our atmosphere.
  • Locally-owned businesses: The World Tourism Day Forum features two small, locally-owned beer and wine sponsors. Bethel Height Vineyard was one of the first vineyards in Oregon to be certified “Salmon Safe” and was one of the founders of Oregon’s LIVE Certified Sustainable program. 3 Stars Brewing Company is located in the Takoma neighborhood of Washington, DC, and was started by two home brewers who strive to collaborate with friends to source local ingredients. The transport of the beer and wine was also included in the carbon offset calculation.

There are still a few days to register for the September 27 event in Washington, DC. In-person and live-stream tickets are available here through September 23.

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The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of WWF.

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