Weekly News Round Up: Nuclear Waste, More Coal Closures and Lake Urmia

With so much going on in the realm of sustainability, leadership, and innovation, and only a limited amount of bandwidth for professionals in this space, we have created this weekly news to highlight articles that we feel are (1) important, (2) relevant, and (3) interesting in the areas of business sustainability. If you have an article that you feel needs to be mentioned, please do so in the comments section.

Nuclear costs in uncharted territory

Once regarded as a truly sustainable alternative to fossil fuel-based electricity and climate change solution, nuclear energy and the radioactive waste it generates is becoming a very large and long-term financial burden to countries which have embarked on nuclear programs. From the continuing cleanup and containment of the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents to the retirement of the Sellafield nuclear power station in the UK, the costs of nuclear are reaching “unchartered territory”.

China Curbs Plans for More Coal-Fired Power Plants

China announced on Monday that plans for 200 new coal-fired power plants have been put on hold at least until 2018, representing 105 gigawatts of electricity and more than the current energy generating capacity of Great Britain. While this shows a positive effort from Beijing to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030, China’s coal industry is still currently building 190 gigawatts in new capacity. The struggle between political power and coal power continues.

Inside agriculture’s sustainability inflection point

With consumers asking more questions about the origins and impacts of their food, many companies are seeking more sustainable agriculture processes to meet this demand. Smaller companies have been taking the lead on this and are frequently utilizing technology to create more a transparent and sustainable food system.

Saving Iran’s Precious Lake Urmia

Iran’s Lake Urmia has been drying up as a dramatic consequence of climate change, taking huge hits to biodiversity and water resources. As sanctions are lifted, Iran is calling for international collaboration to help save one of their most important cultural and natural assets.

Chinese banks face RMB 11 trillion environmental risk

Chinese banks and investors are facing a complex landscape of risks and opportunities resulting from policies driving the transition to a clean, low-carbon economy. These risks include new laws which would require companies to pay fines for environmental damages, or to buy carbon credits to offset their emission.

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