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This week, Wired wrote an interesting piece on an innovative technology called Intellistreets, an LED street light system that does much more than simply lighting streets. The lights are a system of connected technologies that provide people with visual messages such as emergency alerts or traffic updates. The technologically advanced Intellistreets also have concealed speakers, a smart grid street light, digital signage, an emergency call station, and environmental sensors, providing a true “smart city” experience. Not only does this provide a technological and convenient experience for pedestrians and city dwellers, but it also has the potential to produce energy savings of up to 80 percent using LED lights. Intellistreets are currently planned in Qatar for the FIFA games, in Rio for the 2016 Olympics, at major Hollywood studios and some college campuses in the U.S. They are also currently in Detroit and New Orleans.
Also this week, PricewaterhouseCooper’s annual Low Carbon Economy Index report was released, which examines the progress of economies worldwide toward reducing their carbon footprint. Reuters reported on what type of emissions cuts will be necessary to limit the rise of global temperature to below two degrees C, which was the target set during the 2010 United Nations climate talks. To achieve this goal, carbon intensity will have to be cut by over five percent a year; the annual rate from 2000 to 2011 was 0.8 percent. The study also examines progress worldwide and found that Britain, France and Germany have the highest rates of decarbonization, all cutting carbon intensity by over six percent in 2010 and 2011. Environmental Leader discussed supply chains and the effects of climate change on managing them. The report explains that companies need to embed sustainability practices into their business plans to mitigate risks associated with natural disasters related to climate change. Economists estimate the U.S. economy could be impacted by $45 billion in damage and lost production due to Hurricane Sandy. They contend that in the future, companies will need to address early environmental warning signs and identify areas of risk.