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Food Production Is Pushing the Climate Target Out of Reach

Source: Our World in Data

Food production alone could cause the world to miss its 1.5 degree Celsius climate target even if countries stop burning fossil fuels immediately. Along with energy, food production is one of the biggest contributors to global greenhouse emissions — one-quarter to one-third of emissions come from food systems.

Our World in Data identified five ways to reduce emissions from the food industry: adopting a plant-based diet; consuming healthy calories; limiting food waste; and improving crop yields and farming practices. Shifting to a plant-based diet would lead to the biggest reduction in emissions. If these practices were fully adopted by 2050, the world would see net negative emissions.

Both consumers and producers have significant roles to play in reducing food emissions that involve legislation, investment and creating better policies. Although fully incorporating these five methods into daily activity could be difficult, the changes would lead to “a global food system that is more productive, has a lower environmental impact, and provides a healthy, nutritious diet for everyone.”

Startups Raise a Record Amount of Money in Q3 2021

Startups raise a record amount of money

Startup businesses raised a record amount of funding in the last quarter, according to the State of Venture Q3’21 Report by CB Insights Research. Globally, venture capital firms invested more than $158 billion dollars into companies, a 107% increase since Q3 2020.

While the U.S. received the most funding, accounting for a little less than half of global funding, with $72.2 billion raised, Asia is catching up. China raised $25.5 billion, growing 26% since Q2 2021, and India raised $9.9 billion, growing 195% since Q3 2020.

Health care companies lead the various sectors for the year to date, with $97 billion raised, followed by fintech companies with $91.5 billion. As the past few years have shown, health care has plenty of room to innovate. According to Roy Schoenberg, M.D., CEO of virtual health company Amwell, the health care industry will look drastically different than it does today. “Within the next 10 years, physical, digital, and automated care will ideally apply to all patients,” says Shoenberg. “The care of any one patient will eventually become a mix of all three classes,” he predicts.

Why Employees Are Leaving Their Jobs

New research from Oliver Wyman Forum sheds light on what’s behind the Great Resignation. In a survey of workers from 10 countries, the most commonly cited reason is more money. According to the survey’s authors, “wages have been stagnant for years, private pensions are almost non-existent for new hires and frozen for long-timers, and employees are increasingly footing the bill for rising health care costs.” The most common way to remedy those issues for workers, it seems, is a job change.

Fulfillment and flexibility were also key in employees’ decisions to leave. With remote work becoming the norm, workers are looking for situations that allow for work-life balance. Remote work also allows for more job opportunities and ways to feel fulfilled by day-to-day tasks.

According to the authors of the report, now is the time to act. “More than a third of the people we surveyed said they’re planning to leave within the next six months. The right salary, flexible benefits, and opportunities for growth and fulfillment could stop them.”

More People Are Living In Floodplains, Research Shows

More people are living on floodplains than ever

The proportion of the world’s population exposed to floods grew by 58–86 million between 2000 and 2015, according to new research using data from NASA. Led by Beth Tellman, a geography researcher at the University of Arizona, the study also found that 255 million people were affected at least once by major floods during the same time.

Analyzing flood events from the past 20 years, researchers found that floods caused by heavy rains and tropical storms have increased as a result of climate change as well. Marsh McLennan has also indexed which countries are most at-risk of flooding.

Recently, the U.S. government announced a renewed approach to flood insurance, introducing risk-based premiums for its National Flood Insurance Program. The program should be able to cover catastrophic losses without having to borrow funds from the U.S. Treasury as well as incentivize property owners to invest in loss reduction measures that would lower the cost of insurance, reflecting lower expected claims in the future. 

 

Lithium-Ion Battery Prices Fall to Lowest in a Decade

The average price of a lithium-ion battery has fallen more than 88% since 2010. What once cost more than a thousand dollars now costs less than $200, according to numbers from Bloomberg.

Companies like Tesla have made advancements in making battery technology available to mass consumers. The Powerwall, for instance, has solved a problem that long troubled the clean energy market: that solar power is most plentiful when people are least likely to be home — throughout the day. With cheap lithium-ion batteries, solar power can be stored and used when people come home to watch TV, cook dinner and engage in other activities that use up electricity.

Inexpensive batteries also increase the appeal of mass-market electric vehicles, which consumers have shown resistance to due to “range anxiety” — the notion that electric vehicles can only go so far without recharging. A decade of advancements in battery technology means that clean energy, along with its potential to contribute to a net-zero future, is now becoming more affordable.

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