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Sustainability is usually defined as a fine balance between a city’s economy, quality of life, and how those two factors affect the environment. We’re already seeing the consequences of leaving the environment out of the equation – the quality of life actually plummets, as no amount of money and commodities could possibly make up for the kind of air pollution that equals smoking 21 cigarettes per day, which is Beijing’s status quo. Sustainable.
However, in light of looming global crisis, more and more cities are demonstrating that we can, in fact, coexist with nature in harmony without even having to make any tremendous sacrifices to our lifestyles. Actually, not only we can, but we have to, for the sake of our future.
In that spirit, besides objective reviews of Just Energy, Texas Electricity Ratings brings you a look on some of the most sustainable cities whose blueprints will hopefully be followed by other towns in the future.
Copenhagen, Denmark: Most Sustainable City in Europe
Copenhagen has firmly established itself as “Europe’s Green Capital,” and it continuously pushes the envelope on all sustainability fronts.
What instantly stands out is its ambitious agenda to become the first carbon-neutral city by 2025. The plan to this involves a heavy reliance on bicycles, which already surpassed cars in numbers, with less than a third of the households owning a car. In fact, many hotels even have bicycles in stock for guests.
Furthermore, by the end of this year, all public transport buses will run with electric engines. Green roofs have been becoming the norm in infrastructure, while rigid quality assurance tests keep the tap water clean.
Amsterdam, Netherlands: Cycling Wonderland
Bicycles are clearly a common theme in sustainability, and Amsterdam is a world-known symbol of cycling culture. Even beyond cycling, transport is becoming increasingly green as electric vehicles are starting to overtake regular ones.
Sustainability efforts continue in the residents’ homes, with solar panels becoming more and more common on the roofs over their heads.
Amsterdam also encourages organic farming, with many farmers’ markets popping up constantly across the city.
Overall, while the first thing that may spring to many people’s mind when thinking about the Dutch capital is its lenient drug policies, this beautiful town is so much more than a party place.
Stockholm, Sweden: Putting Waste to Good Use
A testament to Stockholm’s sustainability is its innovative approach to harnessing waste, whether it comes in the form of waste heat or sewage waste. The Swedish capital employs biofuel conversion plants to turn sewage waste into biofuel for vehicles, whereas the waste heat, coming from stadiums, data centers, and shops, should be channeled into the heating of its residents, if all goes according to plan.
On top of that, the city plans to be fossil fuel-free by 2040.
Vancouver, Canada: Lowest Greenhouse Gas Emissions in North America
What’s admirable about Vancouver is that it didn’t always used to be a sustainable city, but realizing its environmental footprint and the urgent need to reduce it, it made a sharp turn and now serves as a prime example of well-needed change.
It’s currently the major city with the lowest carbon emissions in North America, encouraging cycling to work and/or the use of electric vehicles, promoting local, healthy food through farmers’ markets, and implementing innovative waste management projects.
Singapore: Greenest City in Asia
Singapore is famous for being the greenest city in Asia, and soon, that title might become shorter – “Greenest City. Period.”
Singapore has become the object of many people’s wanderlust, particularly because of the spectacular way modern architecture is interlaced with nature, while technological innovations help maintain a fine balance between the two worlds.
Singapore feels like a hopeful glimpse into the future.
San Francisco, California: Ban of Plastic Water Bottles and Bags
Besides being named the Greenest City in North America for 2011, San Francisco has another undisputable milestone in its sustainability resume – the ban of plastic bags and water bottles.
Furthermore, being the technological and start-up hub that it is, San Francisco undertakes innovative approaches to waste management, having moved 80% of its waste disposal away from landfills and planning to make this number absolute by next year.
Portland, Oregon: Growing Population, Lowering Carbon Emissions
Despite of its ever-growing population, Portland demonstrated that with the right plans and frame of mind, sustainability doesn’t have to be restricted by a city’s size.
25% of the workforce in Portland commutes by bike, public transport, or carpool, and bicycles are the preferred mode of transportation for nearly 10% of the city’s residents.
Also, besides one-third of Portland’s energy consumption coming from renewable sources, it has also banned plastic bags.
Those, as well as other cities around the world, lead by example and prove that sustainability isn’t some unattainable utopia, but a matter of joint efforts, thoughtful policies, and care about the future generations.
By Rohit Vaid
Till now, activities associated with laying of power and telecom transmission and distribution lines, roads, highways, railways and construction of facilities such as hospitals, affordable housing, power generation units, water treatment plants, SEZs and certain type of hotels amongst others were given such status.
Besides, these sectors are a part of harmonised master list for infrastructure sub-sectors. However, in April 2021, exhibition-cum-convention centre was included in the list. "Given the focus around electric vehicle, and need for significant investment in charging stations, if the government adds the sector in infrastructure list, the benefits arising out of it will be significant," said Vishal Kotecha, Director, India Ratings and Research. "Infra tag on sectors increases ability to raise funds, access to dedicated funds and lenders, foreign capital, lower interest rates among others."
Given the focus on electric vehicles, the advantages of including the industry in the infrastructure list will be enormous. Free SVG
In recent years, lenders have taken a severe hit on their books consequent to cater to the unique financing requirements of the infra sector. This necessitated regulatory changes and government support from time to time. "The pandemic has hit the retail, hospitality and automobile sectors hard and the need for credit and liquidity support is real and urgent," said Vipula Sharma, Senior Director - Ratings and Head - Infrastructure Ratings, Brickwork Ratings.
"Any likely move to reclassify lending to these sectors as infrastructure lending will enable the banks to lend at concessional rates and extended timeline which in turn would give the sectors time to recover from the three years of repeated extended closures and rebuild their businesses. It would also enable access to funds from a larger set of institutions and funds."
Furthermore, as the economy continues to recover from the prolonged pandemic, the sustainability of the recovery is clearly the key fiscal and monetary policy objective. Consequently, Centre would need to focus on not only enhancing public capital expenditure further in infrastructure but also encouraging the private sector including foreign players to invest in the sector.
The economy is still recovering from the pandemic, and the recovery must be sustained. Unsplash
Lately, the Centre has already taken an initiative to kickstart private sector capital expenditure through the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) programme that has already covered 13 sectors with an aggregate outlay of Rs 1.97 trillion spread over the next few years. "We believe there is a case for considering 'infrastructure sector' status to the healthcare and the EV charging eco-system. The criticality of adequate healthcare infrastructure across the country has increased significantly after the pandemic and the 'infrastructure' tag can be extended to not only hospitals but also diagnostic centres," said Suman Chowdhury, Chief Analytical Officer, Acuité Ratings & Research. "As regards EV, the government has started to provide cash subsidies for EV purchases but the need of the hour is to build the charging infrastructure in an expeditious manner. The 'infrastructure' tag can clearly help attract funds to the EV ecosystem." (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: lending, power, hospitals, rate, capital, government, pandemic, funds, budget, ratings, sector, infrastructure)
A team led by chief scientist Ravi Shankar, is working on two combinations to provide the safest medication to coronavirus patients. "Experts say that a combination of antivirals with different mechanisms can be more effective to counter the viral pandemic. We are working on two combinations - Umifenovir with Molnupiravir (an antiviral) and Umifenovir with Niclosamide (anti-parasitic)," he said.
Also read: Antiviral Remdesivir Receives FDA
Molnupiravur drug has received only Emergency Use Authorisation in India and abroad. Though its usage showed reduced hospitalisation during clinical trials, its biggest drawback are the side-effects, he added.
"Now, we are trying to keep a low dosage of Molnupiravir in its combination with Umifenovir which may weed out the side-effects such as the risk of cartilage and muscle damage. If successful, it will make Umifenovir more effective in Covid-19 treatment," said the chief scientist. The other combination is Umifenovir with Niclosamide.
Niclosamide is known for its efficacy for Covid treatment but the biggest challenge is that its high dosage is required for treatment and that leads to side-effects. A safe and efficacious combination of Umifenovir with Niclosamide is being researched on for the exact dosage in the combination that can give positive results, he added.
CDRI director Prof Tapas Kundu said: "CDRI is working round-the-clock to develop drugs that can help in treating all variants of Covid-19, besides being economical and safe for people. We have achieved a major breakthrough with Umifenovir and are hopeful of developing a new drug to win the pandemic battle."
Molnupiravur drug has received only Emergency Use Authorisation in India.Wikipedia
(Keywords: CDRI director Prof Tapas Kundu, Niclosamide, Covid treatment, Umifenovir, Molnupiravir, safest medication, coronavirus)
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Friday instructed Indian envoys to Canada and the US, Ajay Bisaria and Taranjit Singh Sandhu, "to urgently respond to the situation" where four Indian nationals including an infant have lost their lives on the US-Canada border. The minister said this in a public tweet. Neither of the two missions have responded on the microblogging site till the time of filing of this report.
In a statement Thursday without identifying the victims, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) stated that "on the morning of January 19, 2022, RCMP officers with the Integrated Border Enforcement Team received concerning information from their counterparts in the United States".
RCMP officers received concerning information from their counterparts in the United States.Wikipedia
"Specifically, the information outlined that officers with the US Customs and Border Protection had apprehended a group of individuals who had crossed into the US from Canada, near the town of Emerson, Manitoba. Further, it indicated that one of the adults had items meant for an infant but that no infant was with the group."
"Upon receiving this information at 9.23 a.m., a search was immediately launched on both sides of the border.
RCMP officers were already patrolling the area and the search began at 9.24 a.m. Extensive patrols were conducted and, at approximately 1.30 p.m., the bodies of three individuals were located on the Canadian side of the border, approximately 10km east of Emerson.
RCMP identified the group as: an adult male, an adult female, and an infant.
At this very early stage of the investigation, it appears that they all died due to exposure to the cold weather. Work is underway to identify the victims and an autopsy has been scheduled.
The search for any possible survivors or additional victims continued throughout the evening of Wednesday, January 19, and RCMP officers continue to patrol the area today. To date, no other victims have been located."
Also read: Sikh man attacked in Canada
US authorities said border patrol officials stopped a 15-passenger rental van Wednesday driven by Steve Shand with two undocumented Indian nationals inside, less than a mile south of the border in a rural area between Lancaster, Minnesota, and Pembina, North Dakota. Shand and the Indian nationals were arrested.
Officials also intercepted another group of five Indian nationals nearby who were walking in the direction of where the van was located, according to the court documents.
The RCMP said it will be conducting an investigation and is working in close collaboration with US Customs and Border Protection and the US Department of Homeland Security.
"All of our agencies are committed to a thorough and comprehensive investigation," the statement said. (IANS/PR)
(keywords: Canada, 4 Indians, smuggled, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Indian envoys, Canada and the US, Ajay Bisaria and Taranjit Singh Sandhu)