Green Top 10 – June 2023

Bringing you the latest news about sustainability, green initiatives, renewable energy, conscious investments, climate actions and many more. Read a monthly edition of top green news in June 2023!

Kardelen ÇelikContent Editor

June 1, 2023
8min read

1- ChatGPT: What is the carbon footprint of generative AI models?

The increasing presence of powerful generative AI models used in chatbots and image generators raises concerns about their environmental impact. These models consume significant amounts of energy, especially as they become larger and more powerful. For example, building a model with 110 million parameters consumed the energy equivalent of a transcontinental flight. Larger models, such as GPT-3 with 175 billion parameters, have considerably higher energy consumption and carbon emissions. However, efficient model architecture, processors and data centres can reduce their carbon footprint. Productive AI queries are estimated to have a higher carbon footprint than search engine queries. The growing popularity of chatbots and image generators raises the potential for significant energy costs. Continuous model updates and limited knowledge beyond training data pose additional challenges. Despite this, the direct and efficient information retrieval offered by chatbots can offset the increased energy usage compared to search engines. The future shows an increasing reliance on generative AI models for various purposes, which could lead to energy concerns if many companies develop their models. More research is needed to improve efficiency, and renewable energy sources can help reduce emissions. Public pressure and transparency regarding carbon footprints could encourage more environmentally responsible choices in AI development and use. 

Source: euronews

2- LinkedIn calls for green up skilling as demand for sustainability roles grows. 

According to LinkedIn’s Green Skills Report, demand for professionals with sustainability skills is lagging behind supply. While job postings requiring green skills have increased by 8% since 2015, the talent pool with these skills has only grown by 6%. Only 13% of the workforce has the skills needed for a significant green transformation. Governments and businesses need to prioritize and invest in green skills development to reach climate goals. Several industries, including fashion, are seeking more and more experts in green skills. LinkedIn has launched a Sustainability Resource Center to help bridge the green skills gap. 

Source: Greenbiz

3- Climate action can bring $26+ trillion in economic benefits by 2030 

A report by the Commission on the Global Economy and Climate shows that adopting cleaner and climate-smart growth could lead to economic gains worth $26 trillion by 2030, far exceeding gains from business as usual. Action is urgently needed to address climate change, which poses significant risks to societies, economies and global security. The report highlights progress in technological and market developments towards a new climate economy that offers benefits such as job creation, cost savings, competitiveness and improved prosperity. To fully realize the potential of low-carbon growth and avoid catastrophic climate change, governments, businesses and financial leaders need to intensify their efforts in areas such as carbon pricing, sustainable infrastructure, private sector engagement and ensuring a just transition. The report provides guidance on accelerating the transition to a sustainable and equitable growth trajectory. 

Source: unfccc

4- Cacti, wild coffee and false bananas: Scientists sketch out the menus of the future 

The UK faced a shortage of fresh produce and emphasized the need for food security. The UN reported high levels of hunger due to conflict, extreme climatic conditions, economic shocks and inequality. Scientists are exploring alternative crops, including enset, a crop grown in Ethiopia. Enset is notable for being perennial and providing a continuous food source, making it valuable for subsistence farmers. It acts as a “food bank” that can buffer against seasonal food insecurity. Enset is currently grown in Ethiopia and shows potential for expansion in other regions due to its high yield and drought resilience. However, decisions on its cultivation outside Ethiopia rest with the country. The example of Enset highlights the importance of traditional practices and underutilized crops in addressing food challenges. 

Source: cnbc

5- Forget Cars, Green Hydrogen Will Supercharge Crops 

The production of green hydrogen is gaining momentum as industries recognize its potential to decarbonize processes and sectors beyond transportation. The Yuri Project in Western Australia is using green hydrogen combined with nitrogen to produce ammonia for fertilizer, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The plummeting cost of renewable energy has made green hydrogen economically viable for various applications. Industries such as large-scale industrial production and freight transport show significant interest in green hydrogen. Additionally, hydrogen’s ability to store renewable energy and its potential for international trade make it a valuable resource. Countries like Japan and South Korea, lacking renewable resources, aim to import hydrogen from countries like Australia. While still small-scale, the production of green hydrogen is increasing. 

Source: Wired

6- Mitiga Solutions secures €13.25 million Series A funding to pioneer AI-driven climate risk modelling 

Climate technology startup Mitiga Solutions has raised €13.25 million in a Series A funding round to develop its AI and high-performance computing capabilities to assess and mitigate climate-related risks. The funding, led by Kibo Ventures and backed by investors such as the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, will help Mitiga become a leader in providing climate risk assessment tools and prevent natural hazards from becoming catastrophic. The company aims to make businesses and societies more resilient and adaptive in the face of a changing climate. Funds will also be used to expand the team and advance climate science. 

Source: eu-startups

7- Climate change causes 2m deaths in 50 years; poor suffer most: UN 

A report by the United Nations World Meteorological Organization reveals that extreme weather events have caused significant human and economic losses over the past 50 years. The study shows that nearly 2 million people have died and economic losses have amounted to $4.3 trillion. There has been a significant increase in weather-related disasters, with more than 11,000 such events occurring from 1970 to 2021. Developing countries have borne the brunt of these disasters, with more than 90% of reported deaths concentrated in these regions. While improved early warning systems and disaster management have reduced human losses, economic losses have increased. Although the economic impact of each disaster was relatively low compared to their gross domestic product, rich countries suffered the highest monetary losses. Efforts are underway to expand the global coverage of early warning systems to reduce the impact of future disasters. 

Source: Aljazeera

8- Up to 70% of California beaches could disappear by end of the century 

A recent study by the US Geological Survey has raised concerns about the potential disappearance of California’s beaches due to rising sea levels caused by the climate crisis. The study, which analyzed satellite data and considered various sea level rise scenarios, suggests that between a quarter and three-quarters of California’s coastline could vanish by the end of the century. This loss of beaches poses risks to coastal infrastructure and homes. To mitigate the impact, efforts such as building seawalls and restoring natural sand dunes are being encouraged. Specific high-risk include Point Arena, Humboldt Bay, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Newport Beach, and San Clemente. It is important to note that the consequences of vanishing beaches extend beyond coastal areas, affecting inland communities as well. Lower-income and historically marginalized populations are expected to be disproportionately affected. The study also highlights the potential loss of coastal amenities in San Diego county if sea levels rise by just 3 feet. 

Source: The Guardian

9- Spain’s water war puts Europe’s fruit and veg at risk 

The Spanish government has agreed to reduce the amount of water supplied from the Tagus River for irrigation in the arid southeastern region of the country. This decision is of particular concern to Spain, a major producer of fruits and vegetables in the European Union. Farmers like Juan Francisco Abellaneda, who depend on water from the Tagus to irrigate their crops, are concerned about the impact of this decision. Climate change poses a significant risk of desertification for three quarters of Spain, while limiting water supply could lead to large areas becoming barren in the coming decades.

Source: Euronews

10- Iraq Asks for International Aid to Save Its Rivers From Drought 

Iraq’s Prime Minister has called for urgent international help to tackle declining water levels in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Dam construction and water diversion by neighbouring countries have significantly reduced Iraq’s freshwater reserves. The Prime Minister warned of the serious economic, environmental and regional stability consequences of water scarcity coupled with climate change. Despite its oil reserves, Iraq is extremely vulnerable to climate change and ranks fifth among affected countries. The water crisis is exacerbated by mismanagement, pollution and conflict. The Prime Minister emphasizes the need for international intervention to protect the historical and cultural significance of the rivers. Iraq is currently facing a severe drought with reduced water flows from neighbouring countries. The agricultural sector is severely affected and cooperation is sought from the international community to overcome the challenges and ensure regional stability. 

Source: Bloomberg