Exploring the Fourth Wave of Environmental Innovation
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September 18, 2020 
The fires raging in the Western U.S. vividly signal that we don’t have the luxury of time to address climate change. The National Academy of Sciences has concluded that fighting climate change demands we develop every possible tool, including carbon dioxide removal (CDR), technologies that pull climate pollution out of the atmosphere.
To be sure, cutting climate pollution rapidly and deeply remains the top climate priority. CDR isn’t a panacea or a replacement; but if the costs come down dramatically, it could eventually be a complement to the aggressive reductions we need. CDR is technically challenging and currently far too expensive, yet it deserves attention, research and development. As the western wildfires make clear, we need to expand the realm of the possible. Our top story this month takes a deep dive into the science of CDR, as well as barriers to adoption, the role of government and the private sector, and more.
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Also worth your time...
Vascular surgeon Doug Jones and his team perform a surgery to unblock the patient's carotid artery at Boston Medical Center. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

This operating room draws 70% less energy from the grid via WBUR
Why it matters: Healthcare accounts for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Shrinking the carbon footprint of hospital operating rooms, without compromising medical care, can make a big impact. Boston Medical Center offers a fascinating case study on effective changes across the care cycle, from anesthesia to x-rays.
Analysis: Smart fisheries for the 21st century
Why it matters: Advanced analytics have the potential to help bring over $60 billion in annual benefits to marine fisheries over the next 30 years. EDF scientists explore the different dimensions of these benefits, including improvements in fisheries management, fleet operations and the seafood supply chain, as outlined in a McKinsey industry study.
Amazon to acquire autonomous driving startup Zoox via TechCrunch
Why it matters: One of Zoox’s areas of focus is zero-emission technology designed for autonomous ride-hailing. This is the latest investment from Amazon in the realm of autonomous (no human driver) vehicle projects. They’re also looking into self-driving freight trucks and robots to carry packages the last mile to customer homes.
Companies like Amazon, Ebay and Walmart need to be transparent about e-commerce
Why it matters: Communicating environmental and safety data for products reduces company risk while tapping into consumer demands for sustainability. This is particularly important now, as the online purchasing sector has been experiencing explosive growth during the pandemic. “Total e-commerce spending in the U.S. hit $82.5 billion this year, up 77% year-over-year,” EDF’s Boma Brown-West writes. Tools like SustainaBuy, a new interactive online shopping prototype, show how transparency might look. 

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