LINKS OF THE WEEK: Aug 13-19, 2023
Tokyo mandates rooftop solar, EU's battery law goes into force, a HUGE legal win in Montana, and more.
YOUTH CLIMATE ACTIVISTS SCORE HUGE WIN IN MONTANA
A Montana state court has ruled in favour of a group of young people who sued the state for promoting the fossil fuel industry and violating their constitutional right to a “clean and healthful environment in Montana for present and future generations." This sets an important legal precedent for how courts can hold states accountable for climate inaction.
NEW EU “CIRCULAR ECONOMY” BATTERY LAW GOES INTO FORCE
The new regulations will ensure that batteries in the EU have a low carbon footprint, use minimal harmful substances, need less raw materials from non-EU countries, and are collected, reused and recycled to a high degree to accelerate Europe’s shift to a circular economy and increase security of supply for raw materials and energy. I hope we see something similar in Canada and the U.S. soon!
TOKYO MANDATES ROOFTOP SOLAR ON NEW HOMES
The city of 14 million now requires the installation of solar panels on all new single-family homes to support its increasingly heat-wave-stressed grid and help wean the country off Russian gas. This Wall Street Journal is calling it a “is a test case for whether solar power makes sense on urban rooftops.” My guess is… yes? 🤔
MONTREAL’S CAR-FREE STREETS A “MIND-BLOWING” SUCCESS
Four years after making 2.5 km of Mont-Royal Avenue, a busy downtown artery, into a car-free summer playground that received rave reviews from local residents, tourists, and local businesses, Montreal decided to similarly transform 9 more streets. The urban planners from Toronto and Vancouver quoted in the article sound just a wee bit jealous.
“IS THE WAY MANY CITIES HAVE BEEN DESIGNED MAKING THEM EVEN HOTTER?”
"Is the way many cities have been designed making them even hotter?" 🤔I like how the headline is framed as a question when the answer is clearly YES. OBVIOUSLY. I vote for tearing up a third of the roads (or more) and replacing them with tree-lined multipurpose paths for pedestrians, bikes and other micromobility options.
WALKABLE NEIGHBOURHOODS LINKED TO HEALTHIER PREGNANCIES AND BABIES
A new study shows that walkable neighbourhoods are connected to healthier pregnancies and births – surprising precisely zero people who have ever been pregnant. (Who's willing to bet that further studies will also show that walkable neighbourhoods are connected to healthier childhoods, healthier adults, healthier seniors, healthier communities, etc. etc.?)
GOODBYE STEEL MILL, HELLO BATTERY PLANT
Massachussetts-based Form Energy is building a “cutting-edge” battery plant in Weirton, West Virginia, where a steel mill once stood. Workers will produce batteries capable of storing electricity for 100 hours, which will run on iron, water and air instead of the more common but less-abundant metal lithium.The $760m project will create 750 well-paying permanent jobs, the company says.
MAKING GREEN HYDROGEN AND PURE CARBON FROM METHANE? Researchers at the University of Central Florida say they have developed a process producing hydrogen from hydrocarbons, such as methane, without releasing carbon gas or other contaminants. According to this Phys.org article, market applications include possible large-scale production of hydrogen in solar farms and the capture and conversion of methane.
OUR CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE: A BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS?Interesting NY Times article on how green technologies are becoming more widespread in the US even in conservative areas where many don't believe in climate change. According to the article, the key to encouraging green tech adoption (surprise, surprise) is to appeal to people's wallets – not their altruism.
BOOK RECOMMENDATION: SAVING US – A CLIMATE SCIENTIST’S CASE FOR HOPE AND HEALING IN A DIVIDED WORLD
Just finished listening to this book on Audible and really enjoyed it. I especially appreciated Hayhoe's emphasis on the need to connect with people's values before talking about climate change and then show them how climate action can help them live their values more fully. If you've been struggling with having productive conversations about the climate crisis with people in your life, you may want to check it out.