Drinking coffee in the US? Worry about forests in Vietnam, study warns

eco-business.com

The US’s thirst for coffee drives forest loss in central Vietnam, while Germany’s craving for cocoa is doing the same in West Africa, a landmark study that tracks the drivers of deforestation across borders found.

coffee beans Vietnam
<p>A Vietnamese farmer tosses roasted coffee beans in order to remove the bits of burnt skin surrounding each one. Image: jeevsCC BY-NC-ND 3.0</p>

Mongabay.comApril 5, 2021

  • Consumption patterns, especially in wealthier countries, are eating away at forests in some of the world’s most biodiverse regions. In the US, the thirst for coffee drives forest loss in central Vietnam, a landmark study that tracks the drivers of deforestation across borders found.

Germany’s demand for cocoa is linked to forest loss in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, while Japan’s demand for agricultural products like cotton fuels deforestation in coastal Tanzania.

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Nike, H&M, Burberry face backlash and boycotts in China over stance on Uyghur treatment

The fallout comes after corporate statements about concerns over forced labor in the Xinjiang region resurfaced on Chinese social media following fresh Western sanctions.

March 25, 2021, 9:11 PM +07 / Updated March 26, 2021, 6:04 PM +07By Adela Suliman

Western fashion brands including Nike and H&M were facing growing calls for boycotts in China as Beijing pushed back with increasing ferocity against allegations of human rights abuses toward the country’s Uyghur Muslim minority.

The United States announced in January that it would halt all imports of cotton from China’s Xinjiang region — a leading global supplier of the material — over forced labor concerns, while major retailers previously issued statements expressing their concerns.

In the wake of fresh Western sanctions earlier this week against officials responsible for the region in the country’s northwest, those corporate statements resurfaced on Chinese social media and were met with fury.

Biden promises to ‘hold China accountable to follow the rules’

MARCH 26, 202107:33

State-controlled media and online users criticized the two brands, with German sportswear giant Adidas and American brand Tommy Hilfiger also among those coming under fire.

“For enterprises that touch the bottom line of our country, the response is very clear: don’t buy!” China Central Television said on its social media account.

Many users also joined the calls for a boycott, urging local retailers to carry domestic stock instead.

The hashtag #ISupportXJCotton — created by the state-owned People’s Daily — generated more than 3 million ‘likes’ as of Friday on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.

The fallout continued offline too, with Chinese celebrities quick to disassociate themselves from the brands and tear up endorsement deals.

Popular actor Wang Yibo terminated his contract with Nike, his agency said in a statement posted on Weibo on Thursday.

And luxury fashion brand Burberry saw its iconic plaid design removed from the clothing worn by characters in the popular video game “Honor of Kings,” according to a post on the game’s official Weibo account.

One Hong Kong lawmaker said she would no longer buy Burberry products.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=NBCNews&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1375364238907072512&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nbcnews.com%2Fnews%2Fworld%2Fnike-h-m-face-backlash-china-over-xinjiang-cotton-concerns-n1262019&siteScreenName=NBCNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=550px

I will stop buying or using Burberry products until Burberry has retracted or apologized for its unfounded allegations against Xinjiang. pic.twitter.com/Mus4FXeVXm— Regina Ip Lau Suk Yee (@ReginaIplau) March 26, 2021

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The backlash appeared to begin when the Communist Party’s Youth League on Wednesday called attention to a statement initially issued by the Swedish company H&M last year.

It also prompted users to look for previously issued statements by other foreign retailers on Xinjiang.

The original statement from the H&M Group said it was “deeply concerned by reports from civil society organizations and media that include accusations of forced labor and discrimination of ethnoreligious minorities in Xinjiang.”

The company said Thursday that “At this point we have nothing further to share” and directed NBC News to the statement.

The Nike statement is undated and reads: “We are concerned about reports of forced labor in, and connected to, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Nike does not source products from the XUAR and we have confirmed with our contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region.”

Nike did not immediately respond to requests for comment from NBC News.

However, in a statement posted on its official Weibo page on Wednesday, H&M China said the global company had always managed its supply chain in an “open and transparent manner,” and did not “represent any political position.”

“The H&M Group continues to respect the Chinese consumer. We are committed to long-term investment and development in China,” it said.

Image: A woman walks past a store of Swedish clothing giant H&M in Beijing
A woman walks past a store of Swedish clothing giant H&M in Beijing on Thursday.Nicolas Asfouri / AFP – Getty Images

As the world’s second largest economy and home to 1.4 billion people, Chinese purchasing power is strong.

“This is not actually the first time this kind of nationalistic backlash against a foreign firm has happened,” said Xin Sun, a lecturer in Chinese and East Asian Business at the Lau China Institute at King’s College London.

Chinese consumers have previously launched powerful boycotts of goods from Japan, South Korea and the U.S. in the last decade, he said, often with the “unofficial and implicit” backing of the ruling Communist Party.

But with the Uyghur issue an increasing flashpoint andtensions between Washington and Beijing showing no signs of abating, Sun said it was getting trickier for Western brands to operate in both markets.

“They try to respond to the increasing scrutiny from Western customers and people about their supply chains,” he told NBC News.

“They’re walking a very fine line between the Western market and of course the Chinese market is very big for them but you see the political pressure from all directions.”

The latest backlash comes shortly after sanctions were issued against Chinese officials on Monday by the United States, European Union, Britain and Canada.

Beijing retaliated with sanctions of its own, including a new round targeting British lawmakers and others on Friday, but has also been escalating public efforts to counter accusations of wrongdoing in Xinjiang.

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A spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce, Gao Feng, said on Thursday the accusations of forced labor in Xinjiang were “completely untrue,” urging foreign companies to “correct their wrongdoings, and prevent business activities from becoming political issues.”

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a news conference on Thursday that the “strong reaction from Chinese netizens” spoke for themselves and that Chinese people had a right to express their feelings and “oppose malicious attacks on China based on rumors and lies.”

She also held up photos at the daily media briefing of Black people picking cotton in the U.S., contrasting them with a second photograph of people smiling in cotton fields in Xinjiang.

She tweeted similar images.

More than 1 million Uyghur Muslims are believed to be held in internment camps in the region where they are forced to study Marxism, renounce their religion, work in factories and face abuse, according to human rights groups and first-hand accounts from Uyghurs.

Beijing refers to the centers as “re-education camps” and says they provide vocational training and are necessary to fight extremism.

The U.S. has labeled China’s practices in the area “genocide,” which Beijing rejects.

Độc quyền trong ngành điện và năng lượng: Giải pháp đề xuất

Bài viết được trích một phần từ bài báo Phát triển ngành Năng Lượng Việt Nam: Góc nhìn chiến lược

Vấn đề độc quyền

Nghị quyết số 55-NQ/TW của Bộ Chính trị về định hướng chiến lược phát triển năng lượng quốc gia của Việt Nam đến năm 2030, tầm nhìn đến năm 2045 (ngày 11/02/2020) khẳng định rằng:  Phát triển năng lượng quốc gia phải phù hợp với thể chế kinh tế thị trường định hướng xã hội chủ nghĩa, xu thế hội nhập quốc tế; nhanh chóng xây dựng thị trường năng lượng đồng bộ, cạnh tranh, minh bạch, đa dạng hoá hình thức sở hữu và phương thức kinh doanh; áp dụng giá thị trường đối với mọi loại hình năng lượng. Khuyến khích và tạo mọi điều kiện thuận lợi để các thành phần kinh tế, đặc biệt là kinh tế tư nhân tham gia phát triển năng lượng; kiên quyết loại bỏ mọi biểu hiện bao cấp, độc quyền, cạnh tranh không bình đẳng, thiếu minh bạch trong ngành năng lượng. [153]

Bộ Chính trị ra quy định như vậy vì đặc điểm nổi trội nhất của cơ chế năng lượng tại Việt Nam là  Nhà nước giữ độc quyền trong (1) hoạt động truyền tải, (2) điều tiết hệ thống điện quốc gia, (3) xây dựng và vận hành các nhà máy điện lớn [154]. Điều khoản độc quyền này có lẽ là rào cản lớn nhất cho việc cải tiến ngành năng lượng của Việt Nam.

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The Geopolitics of Critical Minerals Supply Chains

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As clean energy technology becomes the latest frontier for geoeconomic rivalry, the security of supply chains for rare earths and critical minerals—essential materials for clean energy—has become a global strategic issue.

The fragility of global supply chains revealed by Covid-19 and rising competition from China have only heightened the importance of supply chain security for critical minerals.

This report compares strategies and actions taken by the United States, European Union, and Japan, illuminating key economic, security, and geopolitical factors behind these evolving approaches to enhance the security of critical minerals supply chains.

This report was made possible by the generous support of the Japan External Trade Organization.

Historical Greenhouse gas (GHG) Emissions

Climatewatchdata.org

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which cause climate change have increased 50 fold since the mid-1800s. Energy makes up nearly three-quarters of global emissions, followed by agriculture. Breaking down the energy sector into its sub-sectors, electricity and heat generation make up the largest portion of emissions, followed by transportation and manufacturing. 64% of GHG emissions come from just 10 countries, while the 100 least-emitting contributed less than 3%.

 

From Zero to hero, the various case of Vietnam’s renewable energy

On the boil

*On the boil newsletter co-founded by 2 girls with a dream to see Vietnam become a leader in the fight against climate change.  The newsletter delivers the information in a digestible format,

  • Global climate change and sustainability news? 
  • Updates on the environment and sustainability projects in Vietnam?
  • Inspiring stories of climate leaders and their projects?

From Zero to hero, the various case of Vietnam’s renewable energy

In January, a humble “S-shaped” country in South East Asia became the talk of the town. Having been “chasing the sun”, Vietnam saw a boom in rooftop solar installations at the end of 2020. It beat all forecasts, even that of Bloomberg, who made an entire podcast episode featuring Vietnam’s race to green energy.

Before we get to the real meat of what happened, let us first take a step back to look at the whole relationship between energy and climate, and why moving to green energy matters.

  • All living things on the planet contain carbon [insert Sir. David Attenborough‘s voiceover here]. When organisms died hundreds of millions of years ago, their remains got buried deep under layers of sediment and rock. Under high heat and pressure, they were slow-cooked into carbon-rich deposits we now call fossil fuels, i.e. coal, oil and natural gas.
  • Fast forward to the 18th century. The Industrial Revolution unlocked the huge potential of fossil fuels as an abundant source of energy. Since then, fossil fuels have rapidly established themselves as the major source of power, supplying about 84% of global energy in 2019.
  • Now back to Chemistry 101: when we burn fossil fuels for energy, the carbon atoms (C) that have been stored away for millennia meet with oxygen (O), releasing an enormous amount of CO2. Unsurprisingly, 81% of total CO2 emissions from 1959 to 2019 comes from burning oil, coal, and natural gas. This is bad news for our friend Earth, as CO2 is a long-lived greenhouse gas capable of trapping heat from sunlight, causing global warming.
  • The answer is no…if 1) we move away from fossil fuels and into low-carbon, renewable energy (RE) and 2) we reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency. In this issue, we’ll zoom in on the first solution.
  • From 1965 to 2019, the share of renewables (e.g. solar, wind, hydropower) in the energy mix almost doubled from 6% to 11%. This seems…puny compared to that of fossil fuels. On the bright side, the recent net-zero emission targets set by the world’s major economies as well as big corporates in an effort to slow climate change are expected to accelerate renewables’ growth.
  • Vietnam is also encouraging a shift from fossil fuel to renewables, in order to meet its CO2 emission mitigation target.

Vietnam – from zero to hero on the renewables Tiếp tục đọc “From Zero to hero, the various case of Vietnam’s renewable energy”

6 Inventions You Wouldn’t Have Without Women

Nationalgeographic.com

ENIAC computer
Two female computer programmers wire the right side of the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, an early general-purpose electronic computer, with a new program.

PHOTOGRAPH BY SCIENCE HISTORY IMAGES, ALAMY

You can thank female inventors for these now-everyday things.

Coffee filters. Monopoly. Windshield wipers. Wireless tech. These very different inventions share one thing in common: they were created by women. Despite their significant contributions, many of these female inventors have gone unrecognized.

In honor of International Women’s Day, take a moment to appreciate these six inventions we wouldn’t have without women.

Coffee Filters

Thanks to Melitta Bentz from Germany, you don’t have to worry about grounds in your cup of joe. In 1908, Bentz was in search of a better coffee-drinking experience. She was annoyed with the beverage’s bitter taste and floating grounds, so she began experimenting with sheets of blotting paper.

After punching holes in the bottom of a brass cup and lining it with the paper, she found a solution and created the paper coffee filter. She received a patent for her invention and started her own coffee-filter company from a room in her apartment.

Monopoly

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Magie came up with the first version of the game, patenting it in 1904 as The Landlord’s Game. She wanted to use the game to teach the masses about economic inequality, so she sold the patent to Parker Brothers for $500.

Thirty years later, a man named Charles Darrow renamed and redesigned her concept as Monopoly. He sold it to the Parker Brothers in 1935, with no mention of The Landlord’s Game.

Magie finally received credit for the game’s invention in the 2015 book, The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game.

Summers could last for half the year by 2100

theguardian.com

Heatwaves and wildfires will be more likely and winter will be squeezed to just 31 days

A man walks in the dried-out lake of Jato near the Sicilian village of Partinico.
A man walks in the dried-out lake of Jato near the Sicilian village of Partinico. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters
@katerav Sat 20 Mar 2021 06.00 GMT127

Our summers are already about 20% longer than they used to be, and if the climate crisis continues unabated then northern hemisphere summers could cover nearly half of the year by 2100, making them more than twice as long as they were in the 1950s. And unlike their counterparts of the 1950s, future summers will be more extreme, with heatwaves and wildfires more likely.

Researchers used historical climate data to measure how much the seasons have changed already. They defined summer as the onset of temperatures in the hottest 25% for that time period and winter as the onset of the coldest 25% of temperatures. Their results, published in Geophysical Research Letters, show that the average northern hemisphere summer has grown from 78 to 95 days between 1952 and 2011, while winter has shrunk from 76 to 73 days. Spring and autumn have contracted too.

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How to get the most out of research when universities and industry team up

theconversation.com

Australia has long been seen as failing to fully capitalise on its ground-breaking research. A consultation paper on university research commercialisation is the latest federal government effort to increase the impact of research. Its focus is on creating incentives for industry-university collaboration to translate and commercialise research.

Any government scheme resulting from these consultations might boost the number of such collaborations. Yet our research suggests many of these projects are unlikely to reach their full potential unless academics and their research partners working in industry strengthen their collaborative relationships.


Read more: Who cares about university research? The answer depends on its impacts Tiếp tục đọc “How to get the most out of research when universities and industry team up”

Reimagining tourism: How Vietnam can accelerate travel recovery

Tiananmen Square in London? UK council seeks to rename streets near Chinese embassy’s new site

SCMP.com 

  • The council of Tower Hamlets borough has backed a motion to rename streets nearby the area to ‘call out the CCP’s human rights violations’
  • The move is the latest controversy to surround the site, where the Royal Mint was formerly located and where thousands of Bubonic Plague victims may be buried

Scientists plan to drop the 14-day embryo rule, a key limit on stem cell research

technologyreview.com

As technology for manipulating embryonic life accelerates, researchers want to get rid of their biggest stop sign.

March 16, 2021
stem cell researchIn 2016, Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz grew human embryos in a lab dish for longer than anyone had before. Bathing the tiny spheres in a special broth inside an incubator, her team at the University of Cambridge watched the embryos develop, day after day, breaking all prior records. The embryos even attached to the dish as if it were a uterus, sprouting a few placental cells.

But on day 13, Zernicka-Goetz halted the experiment.

Zernicka-Goetz had hit up against an internationally recognized ethical limit called the “14-day rule.” Under this limit, scientists have agreed never to allow human embryos to develop beyond two weeks in their labs. That is the point at which a spherical embryo starts to form a body plan, deciding where its head will end up, and when cells begin taking on specialized missions.

For the last 40 years, the rule, which is law in some countries and a guideline in others, has served as an important stop sign for embryonic research. It has provided a clear signal to the public that scientists wouldn’t grow babies in labs. To researchers, it gave clarity about what research they could pursue.
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EVN lo lắng về Quy hoạch điện VIII

Thanh Hương – 15/03/2021 11:45Do thời gian gấp, EVN mới chỉ góp ý vào các định hướng lớn của Quy hoạch Điện VIII. Bao trùm lên các góp ý này là sự lo lắng về việc thực thi sau này.

Từng được coi là có vai trò chủ đạo và giờ đây là đóng vai trò chính trong việc đảm bảo cấp điện cho nền kinh tế cũng như quản lý hệ thống truyền tải xương sống của quốc gia, những ý kiến góp ý của Tập đoàn Điện lực Việt Nam (EVN) với Dự thảo Đề án Quy hoạch Điện VIII được giới chuyên môn rất quan tâm bởi sự liên quan mật thiết hơn cả.

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Nuclear energy, ten years after Fukushima

Nature.com
Amid the urgent need to decarbonize, the industry that delivers one-tenth of global electricity must consult the public on reactor research, design, regulation, location and waste.
Two people watch a nuclear power reactor though augmented reality equipment

Visitors to an industry exhibition in 2020 in China view a model nuclear-power reactor through augmented-reality headsets.Credit: Tang Ke/VCG via Getty

Ten years have passed since a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, triggering the worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

The accident struck at a time of renewed hope and untested optimism surrounding a new wave of nuclear-energy technologies and the part they might play in achieving a low-carbon future. It led to retrenchment, amid fresh concerns over the technological, institutional and cultural vulnerabilities of nuclear infrastructures, and the fallibility of humans in designing, managing and operating such complex systems. Tiếp tục đọc “Nuclear energy, ten years after Fukushima”