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The latest products, services and cleantech applications and how they are tackling some of our most pressing social and environmental issues.

Solar, Wind Now Cheapest Electricity to Generate in Germany and UK

Wind power is now the cheapest electricity to produce in both Germany and the U.K., even without government subsidies, claims a new analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). This is the first time that threshold has been crossed by a G7 economy.Much of this is due to wind and solar power’s improving capacity factor, or the percentage of a power plant's maximum potential that's achieved over time.

IoT: The Solution to Sustainably Feeding 9 Billion?

A 2014 National Geographic article, “One-Third of Food Is Lost or Wasted,” reported that 3.5 billion acres of land, an area larger than Canada, was plowed in 2007 to grow food, support livestock and dairy production that was never consumed. As for water waste, nearly 70 percent is consumed by agriculture, more than twice that of industry at 23 percent, and municipal use bottoms out at 8 percent.As UNEP’s Nick Nuttall acknowledged in the piece: "Food waste is a stupid problem. But people love stupid problems because they know they can do something about it."

Report: 91% of Top Firms View Climate Shocks as Business Risk

Ninety-one percent of companies in the S&P Global 100 Index see extreme weather and climate change impacts as current or future risks to their business, but many struggle to translate long-term, global climate data into short-term and local risks, according to a new report by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES).Despite growing access to climate-related data and tools, companies say they need “actionable science” that helps them to understand locally-specific risks or risk scenarios.

Forbes Names 6 Social Entrepreneurs Finalists in Under 30 $1M Change the World Competition

More than 2,500 young social entrepreneurs applied to the Forbes Under 30 $1M Change the World Competition. Six finalists will compete on the main stage at Forbes’ second annual Under 30 Summit for a portion of the $1 million prize money.

New Tool Helps Businesses Act on Sustainable Development Goals

GRI, the UN Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) have launched a new tool to help companies navigate and contribute to a new set of global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations last week.The SDG Compass is a guide that companies can use to align their strategies with the relevant SDGs, and measure and manage their impacts. It is supported by a live and constantly updated inventory of business indicators and tools.

GE's Energy-Neutral Wastewater Treatment Technology Could Save Municipalities Millions

Water and wastewater treatment typically account for 35 percent of a municipality’s energy budget, which would mean big savings for local governments that can make the facilities energy neutral — that is, increase energy production to a level equal to or greater than the amount of energy it consumes.

CDP, We Mean Business Launch Toolkit to Aid Large-Scale Decarbonization

CDP and We Mean Business, a business and investor coalition focused on transitioning to a low-carbon economy, have launched a new set of tools aimed at changing the conversation about effective carbon pricing policies globally, according to an announcement made on Thursday at Climate Week NYC.The Carbon Pricing Pathways Toolkit presents analysis on ways that carbon pricing levels could be ramped up over time to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, drive innovation in new technologies and transform countries’ energy use.

Climate Week: Climate Neutral Now, RE100 Initiatives Recruit Fortune 500 Companies

Two initiatives for reducing businesses’ impacts on the environment have attracted globally recognized brands this week at Climate Week NYC.On Tuesday, the United Nations (UN) announced a new initiative to help businesses and individuals reduce their carbon footprints, Climate Neutral Now. An online platform will facilitate the measurement, reduction, and offset of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

BASF’s Creator Space Tour Heading to Shanghai to Explore Future Urban Living

Leading scientists and urban planning experts will gather at BASF’s Creator Space™ Science Symposium on November 10 and 11, 2015, in Shanghai, China to share the latest insights into the area of sustainable urban living. The symposium is part of the worldwide Creator Space™ program for the 150th anniversary year of BASF.

Trending: More Fossil-Free Finance Tools from S&P Dow Jones, As You Sow

Investors are becoming warier of the valuation risk in their portfolios as a result of climate change. This week, there are three new indices and a new free web tool to help them navigate their way to fossil fuel-free investments.

London Coffee Shops to Fuel More Than Morning Commutes: Grounds Can Power 15K Homes

Coffee shops fueling Londoners with a morning caffeine fix will also be helping to power office buildings and supermarkets, under a new capital-wide scheme.

Microsoft, GE Among Big Brands Backing New White House ‘Smart Cities’ Initiative

Microsoft, GE and Bank of America are among the ten companies supporting a White House challenge to U.S. cities to become smarter by accelerating deployment of innovative technologies that tackle energy, water, waste and air challenges.Organized by the nonprofit, Envision America, the new effort will invite leaders from 10 winning communities to participate in a workshop in January in Charlotte, NC, where they will work with leading experts from industry and academia to diagnose needs, workshop solutions and develop new smart initiatives for their community.

2015 RILA Reports Benchmark Retail Industry's Progress on Sustainability, Energy Management

This week, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) released both its second Retail Energy Management Report — a resource for companies to compare energy management programs across the industry and identify opportunities for progress — and its third Retail Sustainability Report, which identifies core components of retailers’ sustainability programs and benchmarks how the industry is progressing on key sustainability indicators.

More Than Words: The Book Producing Clean Drinking Water One Page at a Time

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the total number of people without access to clean drinking water now stands at 663 million; each year, more than 840,000 globally die from water-related diseases. A key challenge in developing effective water filter technologies has been making them cheap and portable for distribution to those who need them.

Study: Contrarian Climate Studies Contain Notable Scientific Errors

A new study published in the journal Theoretical and Applied Climatology examines contrarian climate science — the 3 percent of studies questioning the existence and human causes of climate change — and finds they include critical mistakes in selection and interpretation of data.The authors tried to replicate the results of 38 examples of contrarian climate research, selected for their high visibility and their arrival at different conclusions than consensus climate studies.

Trending: Promising Innovations, Public Sector Momentum Around Solar in the US

President Obama made several announcements on Monday at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, mainly related to executive actions under the Clean Power Plan. New financial commitments include $1 billion in loan guarantees for “innovative” energy projects, $220 million in energy-saving activities for veterans and low-income households, and $24 million for 11 solar panel technology development projects.

Dutch Venture Developing Livable Windmills Powered by Wind Energy

Imagine living in a luxurious circular skyscraper, with a breathtaking view and without electricity bills on the table. As futuristic as that my seem, it may not be too far off, according to Lennart Graaff, director of Windwheel Corporation.The Netherlands-based consortium of companies BLOC, DoepelStrijkers and Meysters has plans to construct what it calls the “Dutch Windwheel,” a double-ring rotating edifice that is powered by the wind energy it generates.

Indian Airport Becomes World’s First to Operate Solely on Solar

Cochin International airport in Kochi, India has become the world’s first airport to completely operate on solar power, according to a recent announcement.The airport is powered by a 12 MWp solar power plant comprising of 46,150 solar panels laid across 45 acres. It now will have 50,000 to 60,000 thousand units of electricity per day to be consumed for all its operational functions, which make the airport 100 percent power neutral.

Google’s ‘Project Sunroof’ Calculates the Cost of Solar

Google is testing a new online tool to help homeowners explore whether they should go solar, according to a recent blog post by the search giant.Now available in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno and the Boston area, Project Sunroof utilizes the same high-resolution aerial mapping used by Google Earth to help homeowners calculate their roof’s solar energy potential, right from their laptop or smartphone.

UK Trialing 'Electric Highways' That Will Wirelessly Charge EVs

Highways England and Under Secretary of State for Transport Andrew Jones MP announced today that off-road (test track) trials of technology needed to power electric and hybrid vehicles on England’s major roads are due to take place later this year.The trials are the first of their kind and will test how the technology would work safely and effectively on the country’s motorways and major A roads, allowing drivers of ultra-low emission vehicles to travel long distances without needing to stop and charge the car’s battery.

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