A collection of links to stories from around the world that reflect the progress that is being made in concrete actions to address the climate crisis.
- Ontario government's anti-carbon tax sticker law unconstitutional, court finds
Ontario's government had no right to "stick it to" the federal Liberals by forcing gas stations to display anti-carbon tax stickers, a Superior Court judge said Friday as he struck down the law as unconstitutional.
Justice Edward Morgan said Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative government overstepped in mandating the stickers, saying the Federal Carbon Tax Transparency Act could not be justified under the charter.
- At a Tipping Point -- Towards Healing the Climate
While mainstream environmentalism has historically pursued either preservation or conservation, Schwartz’s new book, The Reindeer Chronicles (Chelsea Green 2020) explores a third option: regeneration. She looks at community efforts to restore ecosystems the world over. “We’ve been trained to believe that finding solutions is a job for the experts,” she writes, but “Earth repair is a participatory sport: a grassroots response to evolving global crises.”
- Climate Is Taking On a Growing Role for Voters, Research Suggests
Concern about global warming is steady despite other crises, a new survey found, and the number of voters who are deeply engaged on the issue is rising sharply.
What’s more, despite the turmoil caused by overlapping national and global crises, support for action to curb climate change has not diminished. Backing for government to do more to deal with global warming, at 68 percent in May of 2018, was at the same level in 2020, according to the survey, issued Monday.
- Underwater Meadows of Seagrass Could Be the Ideal Carbon Sinks
Many ecosystems absorb and store vast amounts of carbon dioxide, and seagrass is one of the most efficient natural carbon storage environments.
- World’s first fossil-free steelmaking starts in northern Sweden
The unique pilot plant in Luleå is a first step in decarbonizing the steel industry, which today accounts for 7% of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
- Exxon dropped from Dow Jones Index
In case anyone doubted the existential threats bearing down on the oil industry, Wall Street delivered another sign that oil and gas companies are in deep trouble this week, with the announcement that ExxonMobil was falling off the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock index. While the decisive blow might have come from the novel coronavirus, which has sent oil demand plummeting, it's becoming harder to dispute that the industry may be in irreversible decline, as governments accelerate efforts to tackle climate change and move away from fossil fuels.
- Building Back Better Could Prevent 112,000 Premature Deaths, Canadian Doctors Say
Meeting Canada’s climate targets could prevent 112,000 premature deaths between 2030 and 2050 due to air quality improvements alone, but achieving those gains will depend on the investments governments make today, according to new modelling released by the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.
- Parliament prorogued, Trudeau promising throne speech next month
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has shut down Parliament and is promising to come back with a new throne speech next month to reset his Liberal government's agenda in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This is our chance to build a more resilient Canada, a Canada that is healthier and safer, greener and more competitive, a Canada that is more welcoming and more fair," he said at a news conference on Parliament Hill. This is our moment to change our future for the better. We can't afford to miss it, because this window of opportunity won't be open for long."
- UK firm's solar power breakthrough could make world's most efficient panels by 2021
Oxford PV claims that the next-generation solar panels will be able to generate almost a third more electricity than traditional silicon-based solar panels by coating the panels with a thin layer of a crystal material called perovskite.
The breakthrough would offer the first major step-change in solar power generation since the technology emerged in the 1950s, and could play a major role in helping to tackle the climate crisis by increasing clean energy.
- Saskatchewan Pilots Hydrogen to Fuel the Future
A hydrogen production pilot project in Saskatchewan could be the start of a new resource economy in Canada, industry insiders say.
"We plan to supply 10 per cent of the world’s energy needs in the form of exported hydrogen by 2040,” Proton Technologies CEO Grant Strem told Canada’s National Observer.
First of its kind in the world, Strem's method can extract hydrogen from orphaned oil wells and repurpose oilfields to produce close to zero-emissions fuel.
- 9 Reasons to Have Climate Hope in 2020
- To Save Our World, We Must End The Carbon Economy
On Tuesday, August 4th The Guardian published an open letter entitled “To Rebuild our World, End the Carbon Economy,” signed by over 100 economists. The statement, notable for its bold prescription of climate action aimed at ending fossil fuel reliance, was signed by leading experts in the field, including Jeff Sachs and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia, Mariana Mazzucato of UCL, Darrick Hamilton of OSU, Dani Rodrik of Harvard, Gernot Wagner of NYU, and former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich of UC Berkeley.
- Los Angeles Mayor - TED talk on how municipalities can create a more inclusive, green and sustainable society as we rebuild from COVID-19
"If you change your city, you're changing the world," says Eric Garcetti, mayor of Los Angeles and chair of C40 Cities, a network of the world's megacities committed to tackling the climate crisis. He shares tangible ways Los Angeles and other cities across the globe are promoting economic and social justice while taking concrete action on climate change -- and talks about how to create a more inclusive, green and sustainable society as we rebuild from COVID-19. (This virtual conversation, hosted by TED's current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers, was recorded July 7, 2020.)
- New Framework Gives Pension Funds A Blueprint for Net-Zero Investing
A group backed by 70 major investors with more than US$16 trillion under management has launched the Net Zero Investment Framework, the world’s first blueprint to help pension funds and other big investing institutions match the composition of their investment portfolios with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
- 7 things Durham is doing to build a climate-change-resilient community
After declaring a climate emergency in January, Durham Region is taking new steps toward creating a low-carbon, climate-resilient community. Durham regional council, in late June, approved projects for corporate and community-wide climate solutions that will support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs while creating local jobs and attracting private sector investment in the economy.
“Durham Region is committed to action on climate change. These initiatives are the beginning of many aimed at transforming how we live and work in our community. Investing in green infrastructure is an integral part of our transition to a low-carbon economy,” Durham Regional Chairman John Henry said in a news release.
- Microsoft’s astonishing climate change goals explained
Over the past week, I’ve been talking to corporate sustainability experts and people who have worked with, and at, Microsoft. I tried to piece together how big a deal its work on climate is — how seriously to take it, what influence it may have, and where it might fall short.
To spoil the ending: It is a big deal. The company is setting new standards, especially in the rigor and transparency it is applying to the effort, and it is deliberately attempting to bring other companies, both suppliers and competitors, along with it into a world of shared metrics and data. There is more it could do, but it is earning its good climate reputation.
- RBC Becomes First Canadian Bank to Sign Renewable Energy Purchase Agreement
The Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest chartered bank and one of its biggest boosters for new fossil infrastructure, is dipping its toe in the world of renewable energy finance by buying into two new solar farms producing a combined 39 megawatts of electricity in southeast Alberta.
- How Costa Rica Slowed, Stopped, Then Reversed Deforestation in Their Rainforests
In the 1970s and 80s, Costa Rica had the highest deforestation rates in Latin America—but the next few decades saw the country halt her forest loss, initiate replanting and conservation efforts, and regrow almost all of her lost tree cover.
Leading the way in the fight against human-accelerated climate change, Costa Rica’s success story of sustainable forestry was strengthened by a simple strategy of valuing forests by paying for their restoration, through their Payment for Environmental Service (PES).
- A climate initiative has had a major side benefit - healthier children
A climate change initiative in the Northeastern U.S. designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions has also greatly reduced harmful air pollution and related impacts to kids' health, such as asthma, preterm births and low birth weights, according to a new study.
- Insurance company Zurich drops coverage for Trans Mountain oil pipeline
Insurer Zurich has decided not to renew cover for the Canadian government’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline, said a spokeswoman for the project, which is opposed by environmental campaigners and some Indigenous groups.
All financial services companies are under pressure from environmental campaigners to cease doing business with the fossil fuel industry.
- Deutsche Bank won't back any new oilsands or coal projects
Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank is joining a lengthening list of European lenders and insurance companies that say they won't back new oilsands projects. The German bank said Monday its new fossil fuels policy will also prohibit investing in projects that use hydraulic fracturing or fracking in countries with scarce water supplies, and all new oil and gas projects in the Arctic region.
It says its ban on oilsands financing, effective immediately, will include exploration, production, transport or processing, seemingly including oilsands pipelines and upgraders or refineries.
- The City of Sydney is now powered by 100% renewable electricity
The City of Sydney, the central borough of the larger Australian metropolis, will now be powered using 100 percent renewable energy, a switch expected to save it $500,000 and 200,000 tons of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere over the next 10 years.
- Massive 340,000-panel solar farm to take flight at Edmonton International Airport
A massive renewable energy project roughly the size of 313 CFL football fields could be arriving in Edmonton by the end of 2022.
Edmonton International Airport announced Tuesday plans to build a 627-acre, 120-megawatt solar farm — enough energy to power 27,000 or 28,000 homes — on the west side of its lands as part of an agreement with European-based renewable energy company Alpin Sun. Solar power from the farm would feed into Fortis Alberta and the airport.
- UK government invests in sustainable aviation with creation of ‘Jet Zero Council’
The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced plans to enhance the UK’s nascent low carbon aviation sector, confirming the exciting project to form the ‘Jet Zero Council’.
In a daily UK government coronavirus briefing, Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has confirmed government support for green fuel specialist company Velocys, who are building a plant for aviation biofuels in Lincolnshire.
- A 90% Clean Grid Can Be Achieved Quickly. What’s Holding It Back?
Most decarbonization proposals play out over 30 years, aiming toward 2050. But a new roadmap from researchers at UC Berkeley and the policy firm Energy Innovation shows the grid can get to a level of 90% clean in just 15 years' time. No new fossil fuel plants. Lower rates for consumers. 85,000 lives saved. 500,000 additional jobs. Region by region, the researchers lay out exactly how it can be done.
- Goldman Sachs is placing its bets on the future of green energy
The shift to renewables is coming and it’s coming fast. Big industry and financial institutions are finally getting on board with a greener future. This week, Goldman Sachs analysts released a report stating that the transition to renewable power from traditional fuels will create a $16 trillion investment opportunity through 2030.
They project that green energy spending will surpass oil and gas for the first time this coming year and account for roughly 25 percent of all energy spending over the next 12 months. As of 2015, the share of spending was 15 percent, but the dive in fossil fuel investment over the past decade has created a significant shift in these statistics.
- Green recovery fever spreads around the globe
Around the world, national and sub-national governments are grappling with the need to stabilize their economies with emergency financing to support individuals and businesses that are being devastated by shuttered economies. As they plan longer-term stimulus packages, a growing group of them – from the European Union to New York State – are insisting that stimulus spending and tax measures must be consistent with net-zero goals.
- Ethiopia sets out to plant 5 billion trees in 2020
Ethiopia has set out to plant 5 billion trees this year as part of its ambitious plan to plant 20 billion seedlings by 2025 in order to help combat environmental degradation, build resilience, and transition into a green society.
Called the Green Legacy, the broader reforestation plan made headlines last year, when the nation planted nearly 354 million trees in just 12 hours and a total of 4 billion in 2019.
The African country has lost nearly 97 percent of its native forests due to a growing population and an increased need for land for food production. Through the Green Legacy, Ethiopia has committed to restoring 15 million hectares of deforested land by 2025.
- U.S. renewable energy consumption surpasses coal for the first time in over 130 years
In 2019, U.S. annual energy consumption from renewable sources exceeded coal consumption for the first time since before 1885, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Monthly Energy Review. This outcome mainly reflects the continued decline in the amount of coal used for electricity generation over the past decade as well as growth in renewable energy, mostly from wind and solar. Compared with 2018, coal consumption in the United States decreased nearly 15%, and total renewable energy consumption grew by 1%.
- Spain: New climate law to ban all new coal, oil and gas projects
Teresa Ribera, the vice president and Minister of Ecology in Spain, has announced the country’s new proposed net-zero carbon plan.
The plan includes cutting the country’s carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050. Once the law is approved, it would ban all new coal, oil and gas extraction projects with immediate effect.
The draft bill has been approved by the cabinet and is now sent to parliament. Final approval by the parliament is expected to be delivered by the end of the year, according to Business Green.(/p>
- Pandemic or not, Canada still faces a climate crisis — and the clock is ticking
Had things worked out differently, the Liberal government's post-election agenda might have started to take shape this spring with a budget focused on addressing climate change.
That might seem like a missed opportunity now. But responding to an economic crisis brought on by a global pandemic is presenting the government with new opportunities to combat climate change — and the Liberals might be judged by how well they seize this moment.
- Federal Cabinet Ministers Assigned To Chart Post-Covid Green Recovery
Federal cabinet ministers ... have been handed responsibility for crafting “an economic recovery plan that aims to accelerate the green shift” as the immediate COVID-19 crisis subsides, La Presse revealed last week
- Trudeau announces $1.7B to clean up orphan wells
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced $1.7 billion to clean up orphan wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, as well as aid for rural businesses and people working in the arts and culture sectors. The money for cleaning up orphan and inactive wells is expected to help maintain 5,200 jobs in Alberta, which will receive about $1 billion of the funding.
- With financial squeeze tightening, coal is collapsing faster than some predicted
Any day now, New York State will be coal-free. Its last coal-fired power station, at Somerset on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, will shut for good as the winter ends. Remember when Donald Trump promised to bring back coal? Well, three years on, coal’s decline is accelerating—in the United States and worldwide.
- BC Campaign to convert school buses to Electric
Just days after Prince Edward Island pledged to make the province’s entire school bus fleet all-electric, a network of parents has launched to convince other provincial governments to follow suit. The new organization, For Our Kids, is starting in British Columbia where the provincial government is actively looking to accelerate climate action to meet its targets.
- Windsor Aims for Deep Energy Retrofit in 80% of Homes by 2041
Windsor’s supervisor for environmental sustainability and climate change, Karina Richters, said the average home in the city was built in 1955, a time when building codes included no requirements for insulation. “So we know we have an inefficient building stock, especially in those homes that haven’t had any sort of retrofit.”
Committee member Kieran McKenzie stressed council’s moral duty to help citizens take action. “I truly believe that we can’t afford to not make the investments that are being proposed here, and what we see in front of us is a roadmap to help us get to where we, as a community, need to be,” he said.
- Peterborough School Board agrees to consider the environment more seriously
A group of students stood together on Tuesday night to call on their school board to become more environmentally conscious.
Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board trustees answered the call, agreeing to commit to ecological sustainability in the board's education, strategic and corporate practices.
- Heathrow third runway ruled illegal over climate change
Plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport have been ruled illegal by the court of appeal because ministers did not adequately take into account the government’s commitments to tackle the climate crisis.
The ruling is a major blow to the project at a time when public concern about the climate emergency is rising fast and the government has set a target in law of net zero emissions by 2050. The prime minister, Boris Johnson, could use the ruling to abandon the project, or the government could draw up a new policy document to approve the runway.
- GHG emissions flat for 2019
Global energy-related CO2 emissions "flattened" in 2019 following two years of increases owing to greater use of renewables and an accelerating shift from coal to gas, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday. Electricity generation produced around 33 billion tonnes of CO2 last year, defying forecasts that emissions from power would continue their upward trend.
- Good news from the Financial World
More and more corporations are becoming leaders on climate policy. It doesn’t really matter that they are doing so because of concerns about the impacts of climate change on their bottom line or because consumers and employees are demanding action. What matters is keeping carbon out of the atmosphere.
- UPS orders 10,000 electric delivery trucks
The UPS deal implies that the base price of an Arrival van will be about £34,000, compared to a £27,900 sticker price for a new Ford Transit with an internal combustion engine – although with lower maintenance and fuel costs the total cost of ownership for electric vans could be lower.
- Parliamentary Budget Officer Sees Most Households Coming Out Ahead From Federal Carbon Price
Most households in provinces subject to the federal government’s backstop price on carbon will get more money back in rebates than they pay out in taxes, though less than Ottawa projected last year, the non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Officer concluded in a new analysis released this week.
- UK Petrol and diesel car sales ban brought forward to 2035
A ban on selling new petrol, diesel, or hybrid cars in the UK will be brought forward from 2040 to 2035 at the latest, under government plans.
- Danish electricity company to be carbon neutral by 2025
By 2025, Ørsted plans to be the first carbon neutral utility, as it rapidly scales up its wind power business and converts its coal plants to biomass.
- School kids brilliant rap video
Pupils at one small national school outside Bantry in west Cork have made a very impressive rap song and video talking about their concerns over climate change.