Promoting Renewables with a Solar Airplane

First Test Flight of Solar Impulse 2 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

“Very often, the protection of the environment is boring and expensive, and it’s presented as a big problem that doesn’t motivate anybody. So we believe that we have to make the protection of the environment really exciting, spectacular. To show that it’s the new adventure of the 21st century.”

says the son of a family of pioneers, Bertrand Piccard. His grandfather Auguste broke records as a balloonist, his father Jacques reached unprecedented depths in the world’s oceans. Bertrand Piccard has inherited this adventurous spirit.

After flying around the world in a hot-air-balloon, Piccard’s new baby is the “Solar Impulse”, a zero-fuel airplane. Together with former Swiss army pilot André Borschberg he has embarked on a journey around the world powered only by the sun’s energy – the first of its kind.

Climate News Mosaic’s Anja Krieger spoke to Piccard and Borschberg about their motivations for this risky adventure, the environmental responsibility of the aviation industry, and what it means to them to be up in the air:

Interview transcript

Please note that we can NOT offer this interview under a CC-License, all rights remain with the author/publishers.

Recorded at Deutschlandradio Kultur, Berlin / Radio Télévision Suisse, Lausanne studios, on November 14, 2014, for Anja’s radio reports in German.

Image © Solar Impulse | Revillard | First Test Flight of Solar Impulse 2 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


COP-20: The world is watching

Image: Imelda Abano

Image: Imelda Abano

During the last two weeks, news outlets around the world have been busy reporting on the CIA torture report, the falling oil prices, and typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines. Yet the media interest in the UN climate change summit now drawing to a close in Peru has been rather limited – much like in the past few years.

The outcomes of the climate negotiations in Lima, and next year in Paris, will likely chart the course for humanity – from Russia, to Belgium to Tuvalu – for decades and possibly centuries to come. This is why we believe that local news reporting on the climate talks is so crucial.

What do domestic media outlets say about the international negotiations and their local relevance? How do they evaluate the risks of climate change on a local, regional level?

Read our compilation of the coverage in different countries around the globe.

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Water wanted

Consequences of water scarcity threaten Italy and the whole Mediterranean region :: Costa Rica attempts to regulate water distribution putting human needs before the economy

While the findings of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were presented from different perspectives, water comes out as the protagonist of this week’s news in both Italy and Costa Rica.

If you like our work, please consider supporting it with a small, per-blogpost donation.

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Biofortified food: Building climate smart agriculture

Special Report

Kigali, Rwanda – There is increasing scientific evidence that food production and nutrition security are at risk from climate change, especially highlighted by the report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at the end of last month.

According to the report, climate change may cause losses of up to 25 percent in crop production such as corn, rice and wheat by 2050 when global population is projected to reach 9 billion people.

And African countries could be the most vulnerable ones with profound and irreversible changes.

The World Bank is now promoting a new approach called biofortification. This method uses conventional plant breeding techniques to enhance the concentration of micro-nutrients in staple crops through a combination of laboratory and agricultural knowledge.

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Home and dry?

Residents along streams in Mali’s capital city could be evacuated for fear of floods   ::   Israel’s health minister joins opposition to controversial mining plan

This week our environmental news roundup looks to Mali and Israel. Media in the two countries reported on cases where local residents’ wellbeing is threatened by what is eventually human activities – be it planned phosphate mining in southern Israel or climate change-induced floods in the Malian capita – and the way governments respond to that.

It’s also a good opportunity to recall two special reports  we published last week, looking into what the latest climate assessments mean for the world’s poor and  how Filipino authorities prepare for extreme weather yet to come.

If you like our work, please consider supporting it with a small, per-blogpost donation.

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Poor suffer most due to climate inaction

Special Report

Climate change is a present reality for many of the world’s poorest people.

The latest United Nations’ report on climate change released early this week contains overwhelming warning on the adverse impact of the changing climate, especially on the world’s poor people living in low-lying nations.

For vulnerable countries like the Philippines that have experienced extreme climate disasters like the recent super typhoon Yolanda, where more than 6,000 people died and millions of people left homeless, climate change is happening now.

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Philippine govt taps disaster imagination to prepare for typhoon season

AFTER HAIYAN Special Report 

MANILA, Philippines – To create safer and disaster-resilient communities, the Philippines turns to a novel mix of using science and disaster imagination to help prepare local disaster managers in dealing with weather hazards made stronger and more intense by a warming planet.

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Hot off the press

700,000 Italians received polluted water, a study concludes   ::   UK marks Earth Hour shortly before the release of global climate report   ::   Most Romanians believe they have no responsibility to act on climate change, survey finds   ::   Welcome to the Climate News Mosaic’s new blog!

Our weekly blog posts offer a glimpse into the latest climate change environmental issues to make it to the media in our countries – and sometimes, those that escape journalists’ attention but emerge in blogs and social media.

We are excited to embark on this journey and hope you join us – please share with us your thoughts in the comments (or via email or Twitter), tell others about this unique project, and consider supporting it.

In our first blog post our contributors recap last week’s environmental news in the UK, in Italy, and in Romania.

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