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KaiOS teams up with Justdiggit to connect rural communities
by Paul Hill
KaiOS Technologies, the firm behind KaiOS, has announced a new partnership with Justdiggit, a Dutch-based foundation concerned with restoring degraded ecosystems. The two firms will supply 300 rural farmers in Tanzania with KaiOS smart feature phones to get information to them that will improve their livelihoods and help them to regreen their farms to fight desertification.
Each of the devices come pre-loaded with a new Regreen App that has been developed by KaiOS. The content in the application is sourced from Justdiggit which advocates proven and scalable regreening techniques that have already been used on 60,000 hectares of farmland in Africa in three years.
According to KaiOS, the threat of desertification and droughts in Africa is huge. It said that 350 million smallholder farmers already deal with these problems or are expected to in the coming years and they can lead to a range of problems including failed harvests and poverty which subsequently creates climate refugees who move to different parts of the world looking for a new way to get by.
KaiOS phones are designed to be affordable and bridge the gap between feature phones and smartphones. While they typically use a feature phone design, they are equipped with apps such as WhatsApp, Google Maps, YouTube and Facebook. Bringing these devices to the 300 participants, not only helps them better manage their farms but also helps to close the digital divide.
As an additional benefit to recipients, KaiOS devices come equipped with the Life app which can help provide users with health advice, financial education, digital skills and more.
After using the devices for several weeks, KaiOS was keen to find out from participants whether they would pay for a device with 52% saying they would spend between $22-28. The firm said that devices with KaiOS already exist in the price range and that it’s a positive sign for the scalability and sustainability of this initiative.
KaiOS is going to work with other partners in the future to scale up this initiative so that it can get devices into the hands of farmers across the African continent.
By Jay Bonggolto
Facebook starts debunking myths about climate change in its information hub
by Jay Bonggolto
Facebook launched a new information center last year in an effort to connect people to science-based climate information. The Climate Science Information Center came after Facebook took a lot of flak from Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Tom Carper, Brian Schatz, and Sheldon Whitehouse for a "loophole" in its climate fact-checking program.
Now, the information hub has received new improvements and is expanding to more countries. Facebook announced today that the center now has a new section where false claims about climate change are debunked. The new destination highlights common climate myths such as how global warming contributes to the reduced population of polar bears and false claims about the harmful effects of too much carbon dioxide for plants. Facebook has teamed up with experts from the George Mason University, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, and the University of Cambridge to quash these claims with current facts.
Facebook is also expanding the information center to Belgium, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Spain, South Africa, and Taiwan starting today. It's already available in the U.S., France, Germany, and the UK. In case the hub isn't available in your country yet, the service will soon connect you to the UN Environment Programme when you search for climate-related terms to help you find authoritative information about the climate crisis.
In addition, the social networking site is now labeling posts about climate change in the UK with a banner that brings users to its climate information hub. The feature will go live in other countries soon.
The new features mark Facebook's latest effort to remove lies about climate change from its platform, similar to how it addressed COVID-19 myths last year with the launch of its COVID-19 Information Center. However, it remains to be seen how the company will handle posts containing op-ed articles about climate change with little scientific basis, which was the main point of contention by a number of legislators last year.
Amazon says 20 more firms join The Climate Pledge
by Paul Hill
Amazon and Global Optimism have announced that 20 more firms have become signatories to The Climate Pledge, an initiative that calls on signatories to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. The most famous names among the companies joining include IBM and Iceland Foods (a UK-based store) and they join the likes of Microsoft, Uber and Best Buy.
The full list of companies that have joined consists of ACCIONA, Colis Prive, Cranswick plc, Daabon, FREE NOW, Generation Investment Management, Green Britain Group, Hotelbeds, IBM, Iceland Foods, Interface, Johnson Controls, MiiR, Ørsted, Prosegur Cash, Prosegur Compañia de Seguridad, Slalom, S4Capital, UPM, and Vanderlande.
As signatories, they will agree to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions at a regular interval, introduce decarbonisation strategies to meet their net-zero goal, and pay into various emission offsetting schemes to neutralise any remaining emissions.
Commenting on today’s news, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said:
Amazon said that each of the companies is at a different part in their net-zero journey but that all are committed to adhering to the Paris Agreement ten years earlier than is required of them.
Microsoft is among the latest companies to join Amazon's The Climate Pledge
by João Carrasqueira
Amazon launched The Climate Pledge last year, an initiative where it vowed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years in advance, in 2040. This means reaching net-zero annual carbon emissions, both through a reduction in direct carbon emissions but also through initiatives to neutralize any emissions that remain.
The Pledge has been expanding with more companies, and today, Microsoft has officially joined the fray, along with 12 other companies including Unilever, Coca-Cola European partners, and Atos. Microsoft itself has committed to many of its own goals, having already achieved neutral carbon emissions in 2012, and setting the goal of removing all of its historical carbon emissions by 2050. The company is joining The Climate Pledge to promote collaboration between companies to reduce carbon emissions across the board. Lucas Joppa, chief environmental officer at Microsoft, said:
In addition to launching The Climate Pledge, Amazon recently launched the Climate Pledge Friendly program for its online marketplace. Products that meet certain sustainability certifications will be awarded the Climate pledge Friendly tag, certifying them as an environmentally-friendly purchase. A subset of the program, Compact by Design, highlights products that use more efficient and compact packaging that makes them easier to ship, resulting in fewer carbon emissions as part of the delivery process.
Nokia research says 5G is 90% more energy-efficient than 4G
by Paul Hill
A new study conducted by Nokia and Telefonica has found that 5G networks are up to 90% more efficient than 4G networks. The findings were the result of a three-month study which looked at the power consumption of the Radio Access Network (RAN) in Telefonica’s network.
The two firms were keen to highlight that although 5G networks will dramatically increase network traffic, it will not lead to a rise in energy consumption at the same rate, which they say shows their commitment to climate change.
Despite the positive results, Nokia admits that 5G networks still require further action to make them more energy-efficient and to reduce their CO2 emissions. It said existing energy-saving features at the radio base station and network levels like 5G power-saving features, small cell deployments, and new 5G architecture and protocols can “significantly improve” energy efficiency of wireless networks when they’re combined.
The study used solutions from Nokia’s AirScale portfolio including AirScale Base Stations and AirScale Massive MIMO Active Antenna solutions. Commenting on the hardware and study President of Mobile Networks at Nokia Tommi Uitto said:
Both of the firms say they’re committed to limiting global warming to 1.5C. Nokia, in particular, said that it will be decreasing its emissions from its operations by 41% by 2030 and that it has helped customers who modernised their base stations to use 46% less energy. Last year, the firm said that it delivered zero-emission products to over 150 customers worldwide; this should help cut a lot of CO2 emissions that would have otherwise been produced.