The fifth issue of Bloomberg Green's magazine is coming, and already you can read some outstanding stories featured in its pages.
As world leaders head to Glasgow, Scotland to work out the next steps in the global fight against climate change, there’s one thing that could make a real difference: tackling methane. We know where it comes from, even if some industries don’t want to admit it. We know who’s profiting from letting it leak. And, above all, we know cutting methane emissions in half this decade avoids as much as 0.3C of warming by 2050.
Also in this issue: read about how climate scientists are speeding up to almost match the blistering pace of extreme weather. China is finally cleaning up its destructive dams, meaning it could close 40,000 hydropower plants. And, after 129 years of doing business with greenhouse gas, can GE transition to the low-carbon future— and bring along its polluting customers? Now, on to the good news:
Climate Activists Charge the Boardroom
A small hedge fund’s successful proxy campaign against oil colossus Exxon Mobil Corp. has shaken up corporate America and provided an example for others to follow. Despite owning just 0.02% of Exxon, Engine No. 1 managed to fill three spots on the company’s 12-member board earlier this year with directors who are more environmentally focused.
Innovators Tackle Marine Garbage
Floating drones inspired by whale sharks are among the many recently developed inventions to remove ocean litter. Tools to monitor, prevent, and clean up marine pollution have grown exponentially over the past four years, according to a paper published in Nature Sustainability in June. The research is the most comprehensive analysis of sea-cleaning solutions to date.
Wolves Roam Colorado Again
After being hunted and trapped to near extinction in the 1940s, wolves are making a comeback in Colorado. Voters there approved a ballot measure in November to reintroduce the animals. In June wildlife biologists spotted a couple of gray wolves who’d wandered across the state border from Wyoming with a litter of at least three pups.
Germany Responds to Youth Movement
In April, Germany’s highest court ruled that the government’s 2019 climate law was incompatible with fundamental freedoms of future generations, a victory for the young German activists who filed the lawsuit. A week later the government announced it would speed its efforts to cut emissions to 65% below 1990 levels by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2045.
Shell Must Try Harder on Emissions
Royal Dutch Shell Plc pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% within a decade and reach net-zero before 2050. But that’s not enough, a court in The Hague ruled in May, ordering the oil producer to slash emissions 45% from 2019 levels by 2030. Shell said it would appeal the decision.
No Dark Roofs for Sydney Suburb
All new homes built in a growing Australian community southwest of Sydney will be required to have lighter-colored roofs to reflect heat, plus they’ll need to have a yard big enough for a tree, according to a development plan from the New South Wales government. The rules are meant to help the town of Wilton counteract the urban heat island effect.
Coffee Can Survive Climate Change
Almost all the coffee that people drink comes from just two species of beans, both of which are sensitive to drought and rising temperatures—conditions exacerbated by climate change. But researchers at the U.K.’s Kew Royal Botanic Gardens recently rediscovered a bean in West Africa that not only tolerates high temperatures but also has superior flavor.
Alaska Returns to a More Natural State
The Biden administration suspended new oil and gas leasing in the delicate Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in June. It later announced new protections for the state’s Tongass National Forest, including the cessation of large scale old-growth timber harvesting and the end of a Trump-era decision to allow new road construction in the fragile ecosystem.
Vietnam Gets Leafier
After the country was battered by record floods and landslides in 2020, Vietnam’s prime minister in April approved a plan to plant a billion trees by 2025. Trees, which absorb water and bind soil, will be distributed to both urban and rural areas. About a third of them will be planted in forests that are protected or designated for wood production.
No More Leaded Gasoline
The last leaded gasoline refinery in the world, located in Algeria, exhausted its stocks this summer, the United Nations Environment Programme announced in August. The organization said this marks the official end of the fuel, which has been linked to dire health effects such as cognitive issues and permanent nerve damage.
Leslie Kaufman writes the Climate Report newsletter about the impact of global warming.
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