The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
China announced new details about a national cap and trade program on Friday, demonstrating its commitment to tackling climate change.
The plans are a follow-up to the historic announcement China made last November when it pledged to peak its emissions by 2030 in a deal with the U.S., which vowed to reduce its emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. Friday’s announcement was made jointly with the U.S. during the official state visit of China’s president, Xi Jinping, with President Barack Obama in Washington. It laid out several policy steps the two countries will take to achieve those goals.
Pope Francis told world leaders on Friday that in order to address poverty, hunger, war and inequality, they must first tackle climate change.
“A selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged,” Pope Francis told the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations in a speech on Friday.
The Pope said there exists a fundamental right of the environment. “Any harm done to the environment, therefore, is harm done to humanity,” he said.
This year’s Climate Week—the seventh—kicked off over the weekend. More than 100 events fill the official calendar, which coincides with the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations, where world leaders will adopt a new set of development goals. Pope Francis’ speeches to both Congress and the UN, a climate rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Thursday to coincide with the Pope’s tour, and the state visit of China’s President Xi Jinping are not officially part of Climate Week, but are timed just about perfectly to round out the excitement.
Here is InsideClimate News’ handy guide to the events that will make news during Climate Week:
The fossil fuel divestment movement skyrocketed in the past year as hundreds of institutions and thousands of individuals committed to selling their oil, natural gas and coal holdings, according to a new report.
So far, 436 institutions and 2,040 individuals representing $2.6 trillion in assets have agreed to sell their fossil fuel investments, according to a review by Arabella Advisors, a Washington, D.C.-based consultant that works with philanthropies. It represents a 50-fold increase from a year ago, when the divestment totals were 181 institutions and 656 individuals representing more than $50 billion in assets.
In the first step toward building large wind farms off the coast of New Jersey, the U.S. Department of Interior has announced that it will auction 344,000 acres of open ocean off the coast of Atlantic City next month for future offshore wind development.
The auction is taking place as part of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan. It plays into the federal government’s goal to see 20,000 megawatts of new renewable power development on federally-controlled lands and waters by 2020 as a way to help wean the country away from coal, a major driver of climate change.
Renewable energy has for the first time surpassed coal in supplying the UK’s electricity for a whole quarter, according to government statistics released on Thursday.
The revelation of the surge in wind, solar and bioenergy to a record 25% comes in a week when the government has been heavily criticised by business leaders and Al Gore for cutting support for clean energy.
But guess what everyone’s been missing in the middle of their keening for the dear, soon-to-be-departed Earth? There is good news. And not just incremental good news but transformational good news, developments that have the potential to mitigate the worst effects of climate change to a degree many had feared impossible. Those who have consigned the world to its doom should reconsider. The technological and political underpinnings are at last in place to actually consummate the first global pact to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. The world is suddenly responding to the climate emergency with — by the standards of its previous behavior — astonishing speed. The game is not over. And the good guys are starting to win.
At BPI Campus our Progressive Agenda is:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.
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