Good News Digest #10

Bali, Indonesia. Photo by    Marek Okon    on    Unsplash   .

Bali, Indonesia. Photo by Marek Okon on Unsplash.

 

WE NEED GOOD NEWS.

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.

ZERO WASTE

Baltimore, MD — The Baltimore City Council just introduced a bill to ban plastic bags.

Maine, US — Governor Janet Mills signed a bill banning single-use plastic bags in grocery check-out lines by April 22, 2020.

Vermont, US — Vermont adopted the most comprehensive plastics ban in the U.S. In effect in July 2020, it prohibits retailers and restaurants from providing customers with single-use carryout bags, plastic stirrers, or cups, takeout, or other food containers made from expanded polystyrene.

United Kingdom — The health and beauty chain Boots will phase out all plastic bags from its stores by 2020 and will charge 5p, 7p or 10p for various sizes of paper bag, with profits going to charity.

Vanuatu, Oceania — The island state, which has already introduced one of the toughest single-use plastic bans in the world, is the first to propose a ban on disposable diapers.

Costa Rica — The country will go 100% plastic and carbon-free by 2021.

Osaka, Japan — At this week’s G20 summit, Japan will call for accelerated ‘‘innovation’’ and greater international cooperation to counter plastic pollution.

Kamikatsu, Japan — The Japanese town of Kamikatsu wants to achieve zero waste by 2020. It currently sorts its waste using 45 separate categories, covering everything from toothbrushes to pillows.


INNOVATION

San Francisco, California — Startup Wild Type has been developing lab-grown salmon capable of reducing overfishing.

Squamish, BC — The company Carbon Engineering, dedicated to removing carbon dioxide from the air in a procedure known as Direct Air Capture, has received support by Bill Gates and oil giants Chevron, BHP, and Occidental, which will allow it to bring Carbon Engineering's tech to market.

Netherlands — Dutch airline KLM has teamed up with the Delft University of Technology to create the Flying-V aircraft concept, designed to consume 20 per cent less fuel than Airbus' A350.

Germany — Scientists from around the world are meeting to improve ways of making money from carbon dioxide.

Zurich, Switzerland — Researchers are producing carbon-neutral hydrocarbon fuels from sunlight and air.


NATURE

Fire Island, NY — Since Hurricane Sandy, the endangered piping plover shorebird population has increased by 93 percent.

Kent, East Sussex, UK — The Duke of Burgundy butterfly is bouncing back from the brink of extinction.

Milan, Italy — Mayor Sala announced plans to plant 3 million trees in the city by 2030 to help cool neighborhoods, improve air quality, and enhance public spaces.

New Zealand — The head of Horticulture New Zealand Mike Chapman said that climate change is presenting enormous opportunities for the country to grow new staple, premium crops like bananas.

Auau Channel, Hawaii — A recent study found that corals in the mesophotic zone, found in deep water with minimal light, prove that not much light is needed for corals to thrive.


ACTIVISM

NYC — Environmental protesters laid down in the street outside the New York Times headquarters and climbed onto the building to demand the newspaper start referring to climate change as a climate emergency. 70 people were arrested.

Portland, Oregon — Around 200 Extinction Rebellion protesters gathered in downtown Portland on Saturday to demand a climate emergency. They used a fire truck to block an avenue for several hours to symbolize the threat of wildfires.

Dusseldorf, Germany — Hundreds of climate change protesters broke into a huge open cast mine on Saturday to protest against the country's ongoing dependence on fossil fuels.

Global — A new study reveals that climate marches have the potential to sway people's beliefs and actions.


CLIMATE BILLS

NYC — Legislative leaders passed a historic climate bill to make NYC carbon neutral. The bill calls for reducing emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 and 85% by 2050, and the remaining 15% would be offset. The bill would also require that all electricity generation come from carbon-free sources by 2040. A Climate Action Council will be established to ensure the state meets its targets.

Boston, MA — The Mayor’s office announced its first-ever Zero Waste Plan with intentions to reduce trash and increase recycling and composting by about 638,000 tons per year, increasing Boston’s current recycling rate from approximately 25 percent to 80 percent by 2035.

France — This week, the French National Assembly is expected to declare climate emergency, to set a 2050 target to be carbon neutral, and to pledge to halve its reliance on nuclear energy by 2035 and close all its coal-fired power stations within 3 years.


DECARBONIZATION

Oregon, US — The governor sent the state police to retrieve Republican senators who refused to show up to the statehouse to vote on a carbon cap-and-trade bill.

Montreal, Canada — The city just formed a committee of 20 experts to help it become carbon-neutral by 2050.

United Kingdom — Major global investor Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM) dropped shares in US companies due to their contribution to the climate crisis — ExxonMobil, Metlife, Spam maker Hormel Foods, US retailer Kroger and Korean Electric Power Corporation.

Austria — The Lenzing Group pledged to become the world’s first carbon-neutral fiber producer and to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

Norway — Volkswagen Group opened up a 100% carbon-neutral data center in Norway, built in collaboration with Green Mountain and operating entirely on hydropower. VW estimates that this data center will save more than 5,800 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere annually.

Global — 11 major banks with significant holdings in the global shipping industry just agreed to an extensive set of guidelines, called the Poseidon Principles, designed to accelerate decarbonization efforts across the industry.


RENEWABLE ENERGY

Oregon, US — Oregon State University submitted a final license application for a wave energy testing facility. If built, it would be the largest of its kind in the US.

New Jersey, US — New Jersey regulators gave the go-ahead for the largest offshore wind farm in the US, the for the 1.1 GW Ocean Wind project by mega developer Ørsted and Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG).

Lagos, Nigeria — Nigerian renewable energy provider Arnergy announced it has raised $9 Million in a Series A round of funding. The utility company combines solar power, superior storage solutions and proprietary remote management technologies to deliver scalable, reliable affordable energy.

Skien, Norway — The ABB automation company installed a first-of-its-kind energy lab on the rooftop of the Skagerak soccer Arena, consisting of solar-powered microgrid and advanced grid automation technology.


TRANSPORTATION

Washington, US — Washington State officials are allocating funds from a federal settlement with Volkswagen to put 50 more zero-emission vehicles, including school buses, on the streets.

Ottawa, Canada — Mass transportation system OC Transpo wants to buy electric buses and skip the trial run.

Dublin, Ireland — Transport Minister Shane Ross is planning a ‘transportation revolution’ to phase out private diesel-fueled motorists and make electric vehicles the only viable option in the future.

United Kingdom — Nissan has unveiled the first zero-emission electric ice cream van in the UK, powered by a mixture of solar energy and second-life battery storage.

Europe — Mini will unveil its first electric car on July 9. Preorders are currently open for France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

Global — The cruise industry is significantly accelerating its hiring of green jobs, listing dedicated environmental, emissions, energy and risk advisory posts.


FASHION

United Kingdom — Online fashion retailed ASOS just added a “responsible” filter for eco-friendly items.

United Kingdom — Net-A-Porter just launched a dedicated sustainable luxury shopping platform called Net Sustain.

Sweden — H&M is the first company to participate in the pilot of a new carbon neutral biofuel launched by Maersk, the world's largest container shipping company.


MISCELLANEOUS

Lausanne, Switzerland — The new headquarters for the Olympic and Paralympic Games is the most sustainable in the world, architects at 3XN say. Over 95% of the materials from the buildings being replaced were reused or recycled, and the building scores highly against three major sustainability certifications.

Pink Floyd Guitarist and songwriter David Gilmour auctioned off dozens of his guitars so he could donate the proceeds to the environmental nonprofit ClientEarth.


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