LINKS OF THE WEEK: Dec 18, 2023
Urban forests, international agreements, California's potential lithium "gold mine," and more.
Whoops! I was supposed to get these Links of the Week posted over the weekend but holiday season baking and gathering took precedence.
(As a Canadian I feel obliged to say "sorry" but the truth is, I believe in striving for sustainability in ALL areas – including my own energy and sanity. 😁)
At any rate!
As always, there have been a ton of interesting stories about clean energy and sustainability-related issues in the news, which you may or may not have seen what with COP28 sucking up all of the recent clean-energy oxygen in the room.
Let’s dive into them!
I didn’t realize that Quebec was so committed to phasing out fossil fuels! Last week the province joined Denmark and Costa Rica as co-chairs of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) — “a coalition of countries and sub-national governments that have committed to banning the exploration and development for new oil and gas.”
Way to go, Quebec! Here’s hoping more provinces and states follow in your footsteps.
The US and Canada have created a task force to develop a common vision for decarbonizing the rail sector by 2050. Their goal is to have a net zero climate model in place by 2025.
Yes! Bring on the electric trains! Though it does smack of “we’re making plans to create a plan” when what we really need is concrete action now. But still! I guess it’s better to have a plan to make a plan than to have zero plans to do anything at all.
The EU Council and Parliament have reached a provisional agreement on new ecodesign rules that will make products sold within the EU greener and easier to repair. The new agreement sets environmental sustainability requirements for almost all categories of products (e.g., dishwashers, televisions, windows, car chargers) and introduces a ban on destroying unsold clothing and footwear.
Yay for more sustainability and less waste!
The Trudeau government has announced its plan for capping emissions in Canada's oil & gas sector. The goal is to reduce emissions 35-38% below 2019 levels by 2030 – but the expectation is industry will only achieve a reduction of 20-23% then use offset credits or penalties paid into a decarbonization fund to make up the difference.
I mean, yay for finally getting some targets down on paper. But it still seems kind of meh?
This one surprised me! Environment and Climate Change Canada released new data last week indicating that Canada was on track to meet its 2026 climate target and was getting closer to its 2030 climate goal as well. This is based on the country following through on the policies included in its new 2030 emissions reduction plan – which of course will depend on who controls the government over the next seven years. (In case you need any extra motivation to vote wisely…)
I appreciated the graph showing the difference between the 2015 and 2023 projections – they make for a nice segue to this next article:
According to this Yale Climate Connections article, we are already on a much better track than we were in 2015. Our efforts in the last eight years have apparently already erased 1°C of warming – and they can be traced back to agreements made back in COP21 in Paris, suggesting that non-binding agreements CAN make a difference, even when they fall short of the desired mark.
Researchers are saying that California's Salton Sea has much more lithium than previously thought – enough to power 382 million EV batteries – and that it can be extracted in a relatively environmentally friendly way.
Sounds like a number of companies are racing to make that happen but none of them have developed the technology and infrastructure to do it profitably yet... here's hoping one of them figures it out!
Here’s another article about Paris’s ongoing efforts to become a “garden city.”
The city is creating its first urban forest by planting 478 trees on the Place de Catalogne, where a busy car roundabout was transformed into a "Dutch-style" bicycle junction in an effort to reduce noise and pollution and combat global warming. The forest will located at the start of a greenway bike lane that leads to the city’s southern suburbs.
Love it! And - on the topic of urban forests…
Check out this urban gardener who planted a food forest in her small backyard. She lives in Australia but I imagine the multi-layer forest idea could be adapted for any environment.
(Urban food forests make me think of how the Amazon was proven to be a human-cultivated food forest, with most of the edible plants deliberately planted 4,500 years ago. Living in a biodiverse food forest sounds pretty dreamy to me!
Another day, another energy storage solution being touted as the next best thing to facilitate the clean energy transition...
Italian startup Energy Dome stores energy by compressing gaseous CO2 into liquid during times of peak power, then releases the energy by allowing the CO2 to expand back into gas. Apparently Bill Gates has thrown a bunch of money at it so it will be interesting to see if and how the technology develops.
That's it for today! I will try to get another post out before the holidays kick in for realsies but if that doesn't happen, know that I will make up for it after Christmas.
In the meantime, have an awesome week!