In an effort to increase awareness about climate change, scientists in Australia are busy experimenting with printed solar panels. The team from the University of Newcastle is getting the newly invented panels ready for a 15,100-km (9,400-mile) trip in a Tesla electric car which will begin in September.
Charge Around Australia is a project that plans to power a Tesla vehicle using 18 of these special solar panels. With each plastic panel measuring 18 meters (59 feet) long, they are meant to be rolled out on the ground to absorb sunlight in order to charge. Created from laminated PET plastic, the printed solar is lightweight and costs less than $10 per square meter.
According to Paul Dastoor, the developer of the panels and coordinator of the project, the plan is twofold: the first purpose is to check the durability of the plastic panels and the second is to test the possibility of using the panels for other purposes in the future. He explained, “This is actually an ideal test bed to give us information about how we would go about using and powering technology in other remote locations, for example, in space.”
The 84-day journey is sure to raise interest in the effects of climate change. The team’s findings will have significant impact in the use of sustainable energy and solutions for the security of our planet.
Despite the fact that climate change has enormous economic consequences, only a handful of US business schools which allow students to focus their studies on sustainability.
Recent closures of facilities owned by Nestle and Coca-Cola, as well as an imminent coffee shortages on the horizon, which will disrupt companies like Starbucks, has still not sent the message to business schools that climate change is an issue that needs addressing by the business community.
Climate change affects every resource used by business: agriculture, water, land, energy, and workers and the economy. No business will be immune from the transformation caused by climate change. Some observers believe that without radical change in our business models climate change will lead to disastrous consequences.
The scientific consensus is that the best way to avoid disaster is to keep the average global temperature increase to only 2 degrees Celsius. In order to reach this goal emissions of greenhouse gases need to be limited to 1 trillion metric tons which will mean a 49 to 72 percent reduction globally from 2010 levels.
Clearly business needs to take a leading role in the reduction of gases that contribute to climate change, but the schools that are educating our future entrepreneurs and business leaders are not taking the issue seriously enough.
One study looked at 51 schools out of the hundreds in the country. It found that when a sustainable business course is offered, it is usually just an elective. Just a few business schools offer minors, majors, certificates or graduate degrees in sustainability business and /or management.
The 51 schools that were chosen for the study are leaders in the study of sustainability. The vast majority of schools do not offer any kind of coursework on the subject. The study showed that even the best schools for sustainability are doing a bad job preparing students for the future that is coming.
US finance officials attending the G20 summit in Baden-Baden, Germany, refrained from signing a document committing the US to free trade as a policy. The refusal is a 180-degree departure from a decade-old policy of supporting free trade. The non-move stymied the chance of any deal from being forged. US intervention also led to any cooperative actions from taking place to stem the tide of climate change.
The talks between the world’s 20 most important world powers, known as the G20, ended with no joint position statement that would have definitively renewed the country’s long-standing promise to develop and nurture free trade among the nations.
US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin led the US delegation and its push-back against free trade. As a result, the G20 finance ministers’ statement reneged on past commitments made by the body, including an unequivocal rejection of protectionism and a strident backing of free trade.
The statement the ministers did issue was a mildly worded, non-committal statement that said that the G20 countries “are working to strengthen the contribution of trade to their economies.”
Also conspicuously missing were the usual commitments to multilateral trade systems, like the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The summit and the G20 are both an informal forum and a non-binding body of nations. Statements do not obligate any of the countries to any particular policy or practice. However, the discussions between the G20 nations and the statements they publish do have and impact on economic and financial policy in the year to come.