Every two years since 1970, WWF has been producing the Living Planet Index. This unique and comprehensive report measures two main metrics: the health of our biodiversity and the impact of humans on our planet.
The past 44 years have shown two clear trends: Biodiversity is showing a steady decline, and our ecological footprint, measured in terms of how many global hectares are required to sustain the lifestyle of each individual on the planet, is increasing
“What we see is clear: we are biting into our capital. We are rapidly reaching the point where we need the equivalent of two planets to sustain humans at the present level,” warns Dr Morné du Plessis, CEO of WWF South Africa.
“I know many people associate WWF with our work with animals, but if we don’t step up and do something at a scale that will change the ecological footprint trend, then all the WWF’s conservation efforts will have been for naught,” he says.
Small wonder then that WWF SA is looking at innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions. One such way is the Climate Solvers programme which falls under the auspices of the Living Planet Unit which is headed up by Saliem Fakier.
“Technology solutions are vital if we are to see a reduction in the carbon intensity of the economy and to mitigate the impacts of greenhouse gases,” Fakier says. “At present, fossil fuels are the sinews and blood of our economy. Society wants sustainable solutions, but the economy will take a while to adjust.”
The Climate Solvers initiative which recently saw three South African companies named as the country’s first Climate Solvers, is designed to give an opportunity to innovative technologies to move out of relative obscurity and be developed on the kind of scale that will make a real difference.
The first three award winners were Rhino Modified Wood which transforms soft South African pine into a durable hardwood; AgriProten’s Magmeal which harvests fly larvae for animal feed, thereby reducing the pressure on our oceans; and the Solar Turtle which brings solar energy and entrepreneurship to rural communities.
The initiative was started six years ago in Sweden, and since then 53 companies in Sweden, India, China and South Africa have had the opportunity to showcase their innovative solutions.
“We are looking for a fundamental shift in the way the economy works,” Fakier says. “What is the scale at which we need to operate to maintain our lifestyles and make a meaningful investment in our sustainability – that’s what we are trying to respond to with the Climate Solvers programme.”
Science tells us that we need to operate with 100% renewable energy by 2050 in order to keep climate change impacts within manageable limits.
“So our challenge relates to the timescales over which these changes are played out. This is long view thinking: We are making changes for our children and grandchildren,” Du Plessis says. “Short-termism is the predominant mindset, but the WWF has to take the long view in order to change the direction in which we are heading.
“We need mass mobilisation. We need innovative ideas such as the ones offered by our Climate Solvers but we also need a groundswell of participation.”
Du Plessis is calling on all South Africans to take the first step towards change by registering their climate change promises on http://www.wwf.org.za/what_we_do/earth_hour_2014/.
“I have pledged to always use the stairs for anything less than seven stories in a building,” he says. “I’m hoping that all South Africans will make their own promises to make a difference in time for Earth Hour on March 29.”
Riding through the traffic in a “medium-sized” Chinese city like Changsha, may instill a sense of chaos in many people. Yet, it also challenges us to take necessary steps towards a future where people can live within the natural resource boundaries of our one and only planet.
Fortunately climate entrepreneurs all over the world are taking on that challenge, and presenting solutions that will help us create that future.
After a successful launch of the first Chinese Climate Sovlers in Beijing last year, another five were announced today in Changsha.
- Photovoltaic Ceramic Tile, developed by Zhejiang Heda Solar Technology Co., LTD
- Heat-Source-Tower Heat Pump, developed by Hunan Qiuke Heat-Source-Tower Heat Pump Technology Engineering Co., LTD
- Optimus (Smart PV Optimiser), developed by Convertergy Energy Technology Co., LTD
- Biomass Oil Fuel, developed by Guangzhou Devotion Thermal Technology Co., LTD
- Modular Smart Charging Station, devoped by Zhuzhou Daneng Science & Tech Co
The award ceremony was held in partnership with the Development and Reform Commission and the “Two-Oriented Society” office in Hunan Province. The Hunan local government is a new partner to the Climate Solver program, but a long-standing partner to WWF China. Introducing the Climate Solver platform in regions beyon Beijing is greatly appreciated by “local” stakeholders. In his opening remarks, Mr. WANG Yuqing, former Director of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, expressed his appreciation for the Climate Solver initiative, as low carbon development is already a priority for the province, and supporting innovations is well aligned with the local government’s mandate to explore green models for an ecologically-sound society.
In the panel discussion with climate entrepreneurs, the concern about climate change was evident. China’s high fossil-based energy consumption and air pollution (i.e. PM 2.5) was mentioned frequently to frame the discussion. It is also seen as a key driver for entrepreneurs.
In addition to Chinese technologies and manufacturing capabilities, perhaps we can all learn from the rich Chinese culture and the legend about Hun Dun (Chaos). He was very admired for his hospitality towards the emperors Hu of the North Sea and Shu of the South Sea, who often met in the land of Hun Dun (Chaos). Emperors Hu and Shu decided to express their appreciation for Hun Dun, but despite their best intentions, the treatment they offered had fatal consequences for him. However, the moment that Hun Dun (Chaos) died, an orderly world emerged.
Today, we know what treatment society needs to avoid climate chaos, but fear that it may have fatal consequences for our economies. On the contrary, investing substantial resources in supporting the growth of climate solver entrepreneurs by policy makers, investors and corporates must be an essential part of building our economies. And on some level we know these steps are necessary, and that when we take them, we will surely find that our actions lead to a more sustainable and orderly world.
- Magnus Emfel, Manager Climate Innovations, WWF
Three new climate solutions were awarded at WWF Sweden’s sixth annual Climate Solver Conference in Stockholm yesterday. Solutions that are equally as inspiring and promising as their predecessors all of which you can see profiled on this site.
The conference opened with Carbon Tracker’s Chairman, Jeremy Leggett who introduced his latest book The Energy of Nations: Risk Blindness and the Road to Renaissance.
In his book Leggett addresses a number of systemic global risks such as climate change, financial collapse and an insufficient oil supply, and the implications of these threats for people around the world. Leggett emphasized the crucial role transformative technologies and innovation play in countering these threats. So there can be no doubt that Climate Solvers are an answer to his prayers. And ours.
The presentation of these inspiring innovations and the passionate entrepreneurs that develop them is traditionally the highlight of the event, and this year was no exception. Together with our Innovation Partners, WWF ran calculations on these solutions that indicated that the combined potential in avoided carbon dioxide emissions amounted to an astounding 67 million tons per year by 2023!
So without further ado –
The recipients of the Climate Solver 2013 Awards in Sweden ….drum roll…are:
Solar PV Optimizing Inverter
A unique power inverter system for grid connected solar power installations that substantially improves energy harvest from PV solar power systems.
Developed by: Optistring Technologies AB
Anders Lindgren, CEO
ZBee Ultralight Electric Vehicle
Three-wheel electric vehicle for personal transport in urban areas and for short suburban, as well as to replace current fossil fueled two- and three-wheeled vehicles (e.g. autorickshaw’s, tuk-tuk’s).
Developed by: Clean Motion AB
Göran Folkesson, CEO
Product-service-system (PSS), business & financing model, selling renewable energy from geoenergy (heating and cooling) and solar PV as a service.
Developed by: Eneo Solutions AB
Harald Överholm, Founder
Congratualtions to all of you! We look forward to following your journey through the innovations system!
South Africa follows Sweden, China and India to become the fourth country in the world to launch the Climate Solver program. According to Louise Scholtz at WWF, South Africa has fared poorly on innovation indexes in the past, “We see the Climate Solvers programme as a great tool to support innovation in South Africa because it assists in identifying problems faced by entrepreneurs at the different stages of product development and entry to market.”
The South Africa Climate Solver awards will be presented in March 2014. The call for nominations of inspiring South African entrepreneurs is open at www.wwf.org.za/climatesolver and the closing date for entries is 7 November.
Congratulations South Africa and welcome onboard the Climte Solver train!
During his recent visit to Sweden, President Barak Obama expressed great interest in Solvatten’s technology. The President took the opportunity to congratulate Solvatten on its innovation, and its potential to improve the lives of millions of people around the globe, “Congratulation on a wonderful achievement: it is a great story to tell”.
Safe, clean drinking water is a huge challenge for millions of people around the world. It is a sad fact, that almost 11% of the global population (783 million people) has no access to clean drinking water. The situation is so serious that the UN has categorized this problem in the millennium development goals (MDGs). Fortunately, the scenario is gradually improving due to technological innovation and proper attention by concerned parties. One such technological breakthrough has been offered by Swedish Climate Solver Solvatten, which is improving the daily lives of people across continents.
Solvatten is a well-designed container with a built-in filter that uses sunlight to transform unsafe water into drinking water. The basic science behind this procedure is that it uses heat and ultraviolet (UV) rays to kill bacteria, viruses and parasites, which spread diarrhea & other diseases. As a result, it produces optimum quality drinking water, which satisfies the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for safe water. In addition to a sunny place, which is a must for the device to operate, it requires 2 – 6 hours to transform unsafe water and produces 11- 44 liters of water/day.
Solvatten offers numerous socio-economic benefits including reducing deforestation, minimizing CO2 emissions, improving health, saving time for women and children by providing clean drinking water at home.
WWF selected Solvatten as a Climate Solver in 2009. For more information: http://www.climatesolver.org/innovations/supplying-energy/solvatten
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- Hot climate for innovation in India
- Reaching China: key success factors for the Nordic Cleantech sector (podcast)
- WWF-India recognizes innovative solutions through Climate Solver Awards
- Innovating the future: 100 sustainable solutions
- Why we need innovative co-operation to tackle climate change
- WWF South Africa announces 2015 Climate Solver award winners
- Five outstanding Chinese technologies appointed as 2014 WWF Climate Solver winners
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