Disadvantages of using Palm Oil

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Studying in an International Course (It’s in English language in Italy so it’s kind of a big deal here) I have many class mates around the world. One of my good friends who is from Indonesia and has studied in my country too recently spoke to me about the Palm Oil. We were hanging out with friends so i heard him for a while and then we moved on to a different subject (It was ‘where are more beers dude?’).

All of a sudden today I had an urge to know more about the disadvantages of Palm Oil. First, we will list the products where Palm Oil is used.

Lipstick,Pizza Dough,Instant Noodles,Shampoo,Ice Cream etc (the list goes on and on). Basically it’s part of our lives. It’s everywhere.

But why is it?

“The oil itself is derived from the fruits of the oil palm. It is consumed in both oxidized and fresh forms. As a fresh food, it contains health benefits, such as the reduction of blood pressure and the risk of arterial thrombosis. Unfortunately, much of the commonly used palm oil is in an oxidized — that is to say, processed — form. Once the oil is oxidized, it poses health dangers on the psychological and biochemical levels, such as reproductive toxicity and organ toxicity, impacting organs such as the kidneys and lungs.” Excerpt taken from OneGreenPlanet.

It is bad from Environment, bad for wildlife, bad for people. Due to this it leads to deforestation, Child labour or for animals. You can read more about it on the following links.

http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/Whats_the_issue.php
http://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/which-everyday-products-contain-palm-oil
http://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/palm-oil-the-hidden-truth-lurking-in-your-home
http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/is-palm-oil-good-for-your-health/

The best way is to cook at home with whole wide-some food and eating less processed food.

What is emission trading and what is it good for? Part 1 of 2

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Today I would like to write about an issue that is so wide that I decided to divide it in two parts: Emission Trading. As you might know (or not) there are some instruments that policy makers can use to reduce emissions of pollutant gases, especially impactful greenhouse gas emissions. Tradable emission permits are one of the few methods (there will follow blog entries about the other ones in the near future) that have been proven to be applicable and somewhat efficient also in the real world and not only in theory.

So what is emission trading exactly? Well, very synthesized one could say that it is some kind of a market based approach to control pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emission of pollutants. But as often, things are not that easy in practice. To understand better how such a framework can be used, I would like to explain it to you with one of the most successful examples in the world for emission trading: the European Union Trading System, or short the EU ETS.

In 2003 the european Parliament decided to create the worlds largest emission trading market where until now 11.000 of the biggest emission producing companies in 31 european countries participate. The system is based on the principle of who-wants-to-pollute-has-to-by-a-certificate-to-do-so. What means that? In practice that means that a company that pollutes the environment while producing goods or services, has to buy certificates to do so. One certificate allows to produce 1 ton of CO2 and costs today, Sunday April 26th, 6.45 € per ton of CO2.

You may think that it is super cheap, maybe to cheap! And yes, you are right. The European System has some strong restrictions tough: The low price of the emission permits reduces emissions not as much as expected; it handles only CO2 emissions, in the past there was some heavy illegal trading ecc. In fact, public and opinion on emission trading is not always positive.

Read more on part 2, where it gets a little bit more technical (but nonetheless amazing)!

What is emissions trading and what is it good for? Part 2 of 2

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Instruments that have the power to reduce pollution emissions are one of the topics we study in our course, and looking closer on certain issues it can get sometimes more technical to understand problems better.

Emission trading was first developed as an economic theory to internalize damaging externalities like pollution, which means that negative effects on the welfare of another entity have to be considered if we want to achieve a specific goal at least-cost. The creation of a cap-and-trade market based framework is able to resolve this kind of problems. The cap is a limit on emissions that can not be exceeded; usually policy makers  decide it on an arbitrary level and it gets lowered over time. The “trade” part of this system is the market, where a price gets associated to a ton of pollutants. But there is only a limited number of certificates available on the market, and according to market dynamics regulate itself to reach a certain pricing level that can be cost efficient in some specific circumstances.

As I mentioned in the first part, there are some other instruments that can handle pollution reduction problems like carbon taxes or command and control incentives (I will report about those two in the near future). The main advantage of emission trading is that it can handle a lot of problems that the other two can not.

Of course this is just a very basic overview of what emission trading is about, but in the case you want to learn more about this kind of approach you should definitely consider to read through some more detailed lecture.

ThoughtBUBBLE: Planned obsolescence

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thoughtbubblefarbeSomething that bothers me a lot ultimately is the huge amount of electronic waste that everyone of us generates. Me for example: in the last 10 years i had eight different mobile phones! Eight! I have to admit that I was not very careful with them and maybe one or two broke, but I’m pretty sure that the remaining six are still working. Nonetheless I changed them. Why? Because it was outdated. Or at least big Industry and their marketing made me think that it was so, even if my devices were perfectly fine. That is kinda sad.

 

ThoughtBubble is a new section here on SteamGreen and it is supposed to be about the authors thoughts on everyday struggles! Let us know what you think about the topics discussed!

The World counts – An interesting site about data and statistics

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Recently which browsing through internet about the interesting facts and data about the climate change, I encountered this phenomenal site called ‘The World Count’.

“The data used on The World Counts comes from a large number of organisations, research institutions, news services etc. Our aim is to use data from the world’s most reputable organisations. But we also use data from a number of smaller organisations.” – The World Count.

Check the data yourself and get ready to be blown away.

http://www.theworldcounts.com/themes/you_and_your_stuff

Written by : Pushkar Sabharwal

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are on the rise at an alarming rate

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I read an article few days back and couldn’t stop pondering over it for few hours. Hydrofluorocarbons or known as (HFCs) are already on rise at 54% in UK. Since the beginning of the spring and soon the arrival of the summer, people in UK have already started using the air-conditioners. This gas is replacement of hydrochlorofluorocarbons or known as (HCFCs) which is depleting the Ozone layer. Even though HFCs is not as potent as HCFCs but it has risen at such an alarming rate that scientists are getting worried over it. A recent study slowed that in the developing countries like India, China and Nigeria, there will be higher demand for air-conditioners. In my city Delhi, you need to use air-conditioners when the temperatures rise to 45 to 47 degrees Celsius .

“CFCs and HCFCs were used as refrigerants in air conditioning units and fridges, propellants in aerosol sprays, and fire suppressants in extinguishers” (taken from the article)

During the Montreal Protocol, the countries pledged to use a replacement which was safer that before

As the demand grow up, cheaper and bad technology would be in demand that will eventually give rise to more HFCs.

What could be the solution to this? Maybe coming up with a replacement which is safer that this one?

Not using the air-conditioner is completely unreasonable.

What would you suggest?

Written by: Pushkar Sabharwal

Excerpts taken from:
http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2015/04/hydrofluorocarbon-emissions-up-54-percent-with-air-conditioning-on-the-rise/

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/04/22/1420247112