Most Clicked SmartBrief on Sustainability Stories

1. Desert aquifers could be the "missing sink"

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Jul 30, 2015

Researchers think they may have found the "missing sink," accounting for about a billion tons of annual carbon absorption that had been previously missing from global climate models. The answer, scientists say, lies deep beneath the world's deserts, where huge aquifers are believed to be sucking up 14 times more carbon than had previously been thought. CBS News (07/29) New Scientist (07/29)

2. Is humanity ready, willing and able to prevent climate change?

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Jul 29, 2015

The threat from climate change is real, and the costs of our inaction are already being felt, writes Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood. Still, she notes, we shouldn't despair: Humankind has proven itself capable in the past of overcoming entrenched special interests and successfully tackling global-scale challenges. "We've committed some very stupid acts over the course of our history, but our stupidity isn't inevitable," she writes. Medium (07/27)

3. Big-game hunting opponents applaud airlines' trophy ban

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Jul 28, 2015

International airlines are emerging as unexpected allies of the anti-poaching and anti-hunting movements, with South African Airways and Emirates both banning wildlife trophies from their cargo holds. Other airlines are under pressure to follow suit, with campaigners hoping to make big-game hunting less attractive to foreign tourists. "[B]locking out one's ability to take trophies in or out on major airlines would make today's massive market unsustainable," writes Mark Hay. (07/27)

4. Researchers develop smarter energy-saving glass

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Jul 27, 2015

Electrochromic glass that switches between allowing light in and blocking it out for energy efficiency may become even more selective with a nanostructure architecture developed at the University of Texas in Austin. Researchers used a porous interpenetrating network in a two-component composite nanostructured electrochromic material. The result was able to control 90% of near-infrared light and 80% of visible light. IEEE Spectrum online (07/23)

5. Companies promise $140B to curb carbon emissions

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Jul 27, 2015

Major American businesses including General Motors, Apple, Goldman Sachs and Microsoft are pledging at least $140 billion in investments to reduce their carbon emissions. The pledge is part of a White House initiative to secure voluntary private-sector commitments to tackle climate change. "It's significant because they are carbon-intensive, energy-consuming companies making a bottom-up commitment to address climate change," said Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners. Bloomberg (07/26) The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (07/26)

6. Turbineless wind-energy technology aims to help keep the lights on

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Jul 30, 2015

South African designer Charlotte Slingsby has created a wind-energy technology based not on huge turbines, but on sheets of filaments that absorb and store tiny amounts of energy over long periods. The technology could be used in areas where turbines or solar panels are impractical, providing a trickle of energy that could keep backup batteries charged. The Guardian (London) (07/26)

7. How to sharpen your communication skills

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Jul 30, 2015

Presentation skills can be used to improve your executive presence, writes Stephanie Scotti, who offers advice on using them to your advantage. "I've observed that if you develop one area, then everything recalibrates and all your skills go up a notch. So don't try to do everything at once," she writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (07/28)

8. Customers say they care about companies' social responsibility

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Jul 27, 2015

More than 9 in 10 consumers in a recent poll said they expected companies to have a purpose besides simply making a profit, and more than 8 in 10 said they sought to purchase products made by socially or environmentally responsible companies. eMarketer (07/22)

9. About 15.2% of turbines in China sat idle in the first half

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Jul 28, 2015

Chinese wind turbines reached an idle level of 15.2% in the first half of 2015, the highest rate for idle turbines in a three-year period, according to the National Energy Administration. In some provinces, like Jilin, 43% of installed turbines sat idle during the first two quarters, the agency said. Meanwhile, China added 9.16 gigawatts to its installed capacity during the first six months of the year. Reuters (07/27) Bloomberg (07/28)

10. Mars aims to make pet food more sustainable

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Jul 30, 2015

Mars, the company best known for its candy, is also the world's biggest pet-food producer -- and it's hoping to use its clout to make the sector greener. The company is increasingly using sustainably caught or farmed seafood and is working to convince shoppers that it's better to feed pets using food that wouldn't otherwise have gone to feed humans. "We are going to have to educate our consumers. It's not easy," said sustainability chief Isabelle Alvoet. (07/30)

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