Good News Digest #3
Bad news related to climate change is hitting us at all angles. Fear and urgency are dominating the climate conversation. Yet positive climate stories and solutions are equally, if not more effective drivers of climate action.
They prove that solutions are working and are ready to be scaled. They show that nature is resilient and comes up with surprising ways of preserving itself. They send a clear signal to governments, policymakers, corporations and the wider public that there is a growing demand for cleaner technology and climate policy.
If you feel like you are drowning in bad news, we have collected lasts week’s climate change success stories to get you through the week.
• • •
Historic climate bills are passing
U.K. Parliament — Last Wednesday, after 11 consecutive days of protests led by the environmental group Extinction Rebellion, the UK officially declared an environmental and climate emergency. “This can set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the globe,” said Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
House Passes First Climate Bill in a Decade
U.S. House of Representatives — Last Thursday, the House passed the Climate Action Now Act (aka H.R. 9), the first bill related to climate change in a decade. The bill would require that President Trump send a detailed plan to Congress on how the country will meet its emissions reduction targets — a roughly 26-28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2025 — as laid out by the Paris Agreement. The bill also blocks him from using federal funds to withdraw from the Agreement.
Waste management is taking shape
Maine, US — Last Tuesday, governor of Maine Janet Mills signed a bill into law banning the use of styrofoam for restaurants, caterers, coffee shops and grocery stores. This is an important measure because Styrofoam is non-recyclable, is difficult to clean up as it easily breaks into smaller pieces, it absorbs toxins faster than other plastics, and it is commonly mistaken for food by marine life. The law also applies to plastic beverage stirrers.
Mount Everest — As part of an ambitious initiative by the Nepalese government to clean up decades of garbage left by hikers and tourists, volunteers removed over 3 tons of trash from Mount Everest in just two weeks. Helicopters carried one-third of the garbage to Kathmandu for recycling. The initiative aims to remove 10 tons of trash from the mountain over a six-week period this year.
Adidas — The brand unveiled the Futurecraft Loop performance running shoes that can be returned to Adidas for repair and never to be thrown away. The shoe is made of a single material, 100% reusable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), and constructed without the use of adhesives or other chemicals.
Motorized vehicles are so yesterday
Amsterdam, NL — Last week, the city council voted to ban cars and motorbikes running on petrol or diesel by 2030. Starting in 2020, diesel cars that are 15 years or older will be banned from going within the A10 ring road around the city. In 2022, public buses and coaches that emit exhaust fumes will no longer enter the city centre. By 2025, the ban will be extended to pleasure crafts on its waters, mopeds and light mopeds. Under the Clean Air Action plan, all traffic within the built-up area must be emission-free by 2030.
Edinburgh, UK — Yesterday, roads in the city centre were closed to traffic for the first time under plans to reduce air pollution. Edinburgh has become the first city in the UK to join the Open Streets movement, which takes place on the first Sunday of every month as part of an 18-month trial.
Fossil fuels are on their way out
United States — For the first time ever, the production of renewable energy surpassed the production of energy from coal in the month of April. According to a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), the trend will likely continue in May and into 2020. Renewable energy is growing faster than forecasted and is bound to overtake coal for good.
United Kingdom — Today, the National Grid declared that, for the first time since 1882, Britain had gone 118 hours (over 4 consecutive days) and counting without using coal to generate electricity. A spokesperson for the National Grid Electricity System Operator said they would be able to fully operate Great Britain’s electricity system with zero carbon by 2025.
Reykjavik, Iceland — For the last four years, the CarbFix carbon capture facility has been turning greenhouse gas emissions from a nearby power plant into stone. The facility currently processes around 12,000 tons of CO2 from the power plant every year — and researchers are now trying to launch a similar system so that it can capture carbon directly from the air.
• • •
Would you like more positive news related to climate change? Subscribe to our newsletter below for weekly updates!