And Now for Some Good News About Climate

The second issue of Bloomberg Green is out, and you can now flip through the pages in a digital version of the magazine. There are big stories examining Amazon’s ambitions to fight climate change, what happens when old gas wells are left to languish and leak methane, and more.  

So much of the news is hard to read these days, and it’s true that a fast-warming planet isn’t always the sunniest of subjects. But as we did in the first issue of Bloomberg Green, this time the magazine again ends with a round-up of good news from the past few months.

Virus Boosts Renewables

Wind and solar doubled their share of the global power mix over the past five years. The renewable energy sources made up almost 10% of electricity generation in most parts of the world in the first half of 2020, according to an analysis released in August by U.K. environmental group Ember. Grid operators relied more on less expensive renewable energy sources as shutdowns to contain the novel coronavirus reduced demand for power.

Sun From Down Under

Patna, IndiaMost polluted air today, in sensor range 91% Carbon-free net power in Brazil, most recent data

$69.​9B Renewable power investment worldwide in Q2 2020 0 6 5 4 3 2 0 3 2 1 0 9 0 4 3 2 1 0 .0 8 7 6 5 4 0 9 8 7 6 5 0 3 2 1 0 9 0 0 9 8 7 6 0 8 7 6 5 4 0 5 4 3 2 1 Parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere 0 0 9 8 7 6 0 5 4 3 2 1 Soccer pitches of forest lost this hour, most recent data

50,​820 Million metric tons of greenhouse emissions, most recent annual data +0.​94° C Aug. 2020 increase in global temperature vs. 1900s average -40.​54% Today’s arctic ice area vs. historic average

Australia granted “major project status” to an ambitious A$22 billion ($16 billion) plan to export power from the world’s largest solar farm and battery system in the country’s Northern Territory to Singapore and Indonesia via a 3,700 km (2,300 mile) undersea cable. The project could supply a fifth of Singapore’s power needs, helping to reduce the city-state’s reliance on natural gas imports.

Kenya’s Elephant Baby Boom

Efforts to curb poaching have helped Kenya’s elephant population more than double over the past three decades, the Kenya Wildlife Service said in August. There were just 16,000 elephants in Kenya in 1989, but by 2018 that number had grown to more than 34,000. The Kenyan government has stiffened fines and jail terms over the past several years for anyone convicted of poaching or trafficking in wildlife trophies such as lion heads or stools made from elephants’ feet.

China Cleans Up Its Bonds

Fossil fuels are no longer considered green by China’s central bank. The People’s Bank of China will remove “clean utilization of fossil fuel” from the list of programs that can be funded by green bonds. The bank had drawn the ire of environmentalists for allowing its sustainable financing tools to fund projects that burn coal but use technology to reduce air pollution.

Walmart Suppliers Slash Carbon

Walmart Inc. has cut 230 million metric tons of greenhouse gases out of its supply chain in the past three years. The retailer is putting pressure on suppliers to keep the cuts coming by using more clean energy, shifting toward environmentally friendly product design and packaging, cutting emissions from agriculture, and protecting forests.

Missing No Longer

The Somali sengi, a molelike mammal that hadn’t been spotted for 50 years, has been discovered to be alive and well. Scientists had feared the creature might be extinct. The sengi is known as an elephant shrew because it sucks up ants with its trunklike nose. While it wasn’t seen in Somalia for decades, it was found thriving in neighboring Djibouti.

Seismic Shift Toward Clean Power

For the first time ever, solar and wind made up the majority of the world’s new power generation. Solar additions last year totaled 119 gigawatts, representing 45% of all new capacity, according to research by BloombergNEF. Together, solar and wind accounted for more than two-thirds of the additions. That’s up from less than a quarter of all new power plants in 2010.

Apple’s Long Green Arm

Apple Inc. committed in July to become carbon neutral by 2030. Since the $1.6 trillion company’s own electricity needs are already served entirely by renewables, its new climate commitment is about its indirect emissions. Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said it will ensure most of its suppliers deploy energy efficiency measures and switch to 100% renewables by the end of the decade.

Oil Out of Soaps

Unilever NV will spend €1b ($1.2 billion) to eliminate the use of fossil fuels in the production of its cleaning products by 2030. The company said in September it will replace the petrochemicals found in its detergents and household cleaners with renewable or recycled alternatives.

Ride-Sharing Goes Electric

Lyft Corp. said 100% of its trips will be in electric vehicles by the end of 2030. The pledge comes after California regulators released an analysis in December showing that ride-hailing services emit 50% more greenhouse gas per passenger mile than the average car. Lyft now faces the challenge of persuading its drivers—who aren’t considered employees in most of its operating jurisdictions—to buy EVs.

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