U.N. Climate Talks End With a Deal to Pay Poor Nations for Damage

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — Diplomats from nearly 200 countries concluded two weeks of climate talks Sunday by agreeing to establish a fund that would help poor, vulnerable countries cope with climate disasters made worse by the greenhouse gases from wealthy nations.

The decision on payments for loss and damage caused by global warming represented a breakthrough on one of the most contentious issues at United Nations climate negotiations. For more than three decades, developing nations have pressed rich, industrialized countries to provide compensation for the costs of destructive storms, heat waves and droughts linked to rising temperatures.

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Ethanol helps keep lid on gas prices

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — Diplomats from nearly 200 countries concluded two weeks of climate talks Sunday by agreeing to establish a fund that would help poor, vulnerable countries cope with climate disasters made worse by the greenhouse gases from wealthy nations.

The decision on payments for loss and damage caused by global warming represented a breakthrough on one of the most contentious issues at United Nations climate negotiations. For more than three decades, developing nations have pressed rich, industrialized countries to provide compensation for the costs of destructive storms, heat waves and droughts linked to rising temperatures.

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This Plastic Packaging Alternative Can Compost in a Year

EVERY YEAR, PEOPLE in the United Kingdom throw away around 96 billion pieces of plastic packaging—an average household tosses 66 pieces every week. Almost half of this packaging waste ends up being incinerated, while a quarter is buried in landfills, according to a May 2022 survey by Everyday Plastic and Greenpeace. The scale of the waste is hard to fathom.

“The plastics crisis can be daunting,” says Insiya Jafferjee, the CEO and cofounder of packaging company Shellworks. Speaking at WIRED Impact in London this November, Jafferjee said that even small, seemingly simple pieces of plastic—such as scoops included in baby formula packaging—result in hundreds of millions of pieces of plastic waste every year. Shellworks was created to start making a dent in the amount of plastic packaging that gets thrown away. To do so, Jafferjee and cofounder Amir Afshar developed an entirely compostable material that can be used to package goods.

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No, Qatar’s World Cup Can’t Be Classed as Carbon-Neutral

SINCE CONTROVERSIALLY BEING awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup back in 2010, Qatar has promised that the soccer tournament—which kicks off on November 20—will be carbon-neutral. This would be an impressive feat for any major sporting event, given the need to build new infrastructure, accommodate teams and fans, move them around, and run the actual games. But it is an even more daunting challenge in this small Gulf state. Qatar is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, is blisteringly hot, and had barely any suitable facilities prior to the event.

Nevertheless, its organizers insist the tournament will be carbon-neutral. Skepticism about this claim has understandably been rife, as have allegations of greenwashing. Qatar’s sustainability strategy, broadly speaking, relies first on minimizing emissions as best it can—which has obvious limitations, given the need to build stadiums from scratch and operate them with packed crowds in the desert—and then compensating for any remaining emissions using carbon credits. The practice of offsetting draws criticism at the best of times, but the methods and calculations used to get the Qatar World Cup to net-zero are particularly dubious.

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THIS GENETICALLY ENGINEERED HOUSEPLANT DOES THE AIR-PURIFYING WORK OF 30 PLANTS

FOR THOSE OF us with seasonal depression or anxiety, houseplants can offer immense comfort. In fact, adding loads of leafy things to your home has been shown to boost mood and relieve anxiety — in short, they help us (metaphorically) breathe a bit easier. But now, a specially designed plant can literally clear the air.

A Paris-based startup called Neoplants aims to harness the natural air-filtering properties of plants and turn them up to 11. By genetically engineering both a pothos (Epipremnum aureum) plant and its associated root microbiome, the team behind Neoplants created an organism they claim is capable of doing the air-purifying work of up to 30 plants. The company’s first high-tech houseplant, called Neo P1, recently hit the market.

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How to Build an Affordable Net-Zero Home

According to the National Association of Home Builders, building a single 2,000-square-foot home at a job site creates over 8,000 pounds of waste. Hundreds of millions of tons of construction waste end up in landfills yearly.

Unlike traditional homes built at the job site, Clayton manufactured and modular homes are built off-site in a climate-controlled facility and transported to the home site for set up. This means the team can closely monitor material usage and reduce waste while ensuring their processes and workspaces are efficient.

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A Coal-Fired Power Plant in India Is Turning Carbon Dioxide Into Baking Soda

In the southern Indian city of Tuticorin, locals are unlikely to suffer from a poorly risen cake. That’s because a coal-fired thermal power station in the area captures carbon dioxide and turns it into baking soda.

Carbon capture schemes are nothing new. Typically, they use a solvent, such as amine, to catch carbon dioxide and prevent it from escaping into the atmosphere. From there, the CO2 can either be stored away or used.

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Podcast: The Problem With Plastics: Could New Recycling Tech Help the Planet?

World leaders are still trying to figure out how to handle the hundreds of millions of tons of plastic waste generated every year. Back in the 1990s, it was tough to switch on the TV and not see ads or shows offering viewers a simple solution: to reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics. Nice words, but it turns out that wasn’t enough to solve the problem. New high tech methods have shown promise in breaking down plastics or creating new ones that are easier to recycle. But they’re expensive alternatives. Will the economics work out? WSJ’s Danny Lewis sorts through the future of plastics recycling.

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The UN Climate Talks Are About to Face Maddening Uncertainties

FOR YEARS, THE world has known what it has to do about climate change: hold the line at 1.5 degrees Celsius to stave off the worst effects of warming. To do so we need to make serious cuts to carbon emissions, fast—at least 42 percent from 2019 levels by 2030. That’s been the aim since 2015, when world leaders came together to sign the Paris Agreement. So around this time last year, when global climate negotiators arrived at the United Nations’ annual Conference of Parties meeting, known as COP26, they came with a clear mandate. Yet by the end of the marathon negotiations, they left Glasgow with the carbon arithmetic far from solved.

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