Climate Joy Week #32: New Zealand Sets Carbon Neutral 2050 Target, Italy to Become First Country to Mandate Teaching of Climate Change and more…

Climate Joy Week #32: New Zealand Sets Carbon Neutral 2050 Target, Italy to Become First Country to Mandate Teaching of Climate Change and more…

This week’s edition of Climate Joy is proudly brought to you by our sponsor Australian Ethical:

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Thank you for swinging by for yet another edition of our Climate Joy series. As we steadily draw closer to the end of this year, I have found myself often thinking of these little joys we share here each week. They have strengthened my resolve immensely and reinforced my belief that I am not alone in the efforts I make to make our planet better.

On that note, here’s our weekly roundup of positive climate news to brighten your day:

1. New Zealand Passes Bill to be Carbon Neutral by 2050

New Zealand has formally passed its “Zero Carbon” Bill into law. The law makes it legally binding for the country to become carbon neutral by 2050 and the bill provides that in 40 years time, the country will produce no greenhouse gases except methane. The bill also establishes an independent Climate Change Commission to advise the government on how to achieve its targets and to produce “carbon budgets” every five years informing how many emissions will be allowed in that period.

New Zealand Commits to Carbon Neutrality by 2050
The Hon. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, New Zealand and Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-chief, The Economist at the 3rd annual Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York City on September 25, 2019 at The Plaza Hotel. Credit: Mike Bloomberg/Flickr.

The methane exception is a provision for farmers (for instance, every time a cow passes gas, it releases methane into the atmosphere) who are responsible for a large part of the country’s income. Despite this though, the government still aims to cut 10% of biological methane by 2030, and up to 47% by 2050. The NZ government has also pledged it will plant one billion trees over 10 years and ensure that the electricity grid runs entirely from renewable energy by 2035.

The New Zealand Prime Minister in describing the move said “New Zealand has placed themselves on the right side of history” and frankly, we couldn’t agree more.

2. Italy to Become First Country to Mandate Teaching of Climate Change in Schools

The Italian Education Ministry announced has recently announced that starting from 2020; students in the country will be required to study climate change and sustainability. Schools will be required to include a minimum of 33 hours a year in their curricula to devote to these subjects.

The Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti also shared that the study of the environment and sustainability will become a core part of other more traditional subjects like math, physics and geography.

The new curricula will be developed with the help of world class experts including Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Development, and American economic and social theorist Jeremy Rifkin; to position the country as a world leader in environmental education.

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“I want to make the Italian education system the first education system that puts the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school,” Fioramonti said.

This is a great step in the right direction and no doubt we’ll see other countries follow suit.

3. Yeezy Goes Sustainable

Kanye West, American rapper and owner of footwear and apparel brand Yeezy, has announced that the company will be aiming to incorporate more sustainable practices and eco-friendly materials. For starters, the company will move its operations to the U.S. mainly to create jobs on home soil, but also to lower their ecological impact.

Kanye West also revealed that the company was designing eco-friendly shoes made from pond algae for his collection. Alongside his head designer, Kanye West displayed the proposed shoes, made using foam from algae harvested in ponds. The company also plans to use hemp and cotton produced hydroponically in the rapper’s ranch in Wyoming which will also be where the short production will take place.

Kanye’s creations as a fashion designer have become crucial aspects of his legacy and we’re thrilled he is using his huge platform to share about sustainable and eco-friendly practices with the masses.

4. Germany Expands Electric Car Subsidies

The German government and the German automobile industry has announced a joint expansion of the electric car subsidy in the country. The announcement was made following a car summit, aimed at fostering the production of cleaner transportation.  

Under the agreement, consumer subsidies for electric cars costing less than €40,000 will increase to €6,000 from €4,000. Purchasers of plug-in hybrids in this price range would be given a subsidy of €4,500, up from €3,000.

For electric cars over €40,000, there will be an increase in the subsidy by 25%. Any car priced over €60,000 will not supported by the scheme. The cost of the scheme will be equally shared between the industry and the government. 

The subsidies will also be extended from the end of 2020 to the end of 2025 and we are positive that this will encourage a lot more people to transition to cleaner modes of transportation.

And on that happy note, we wrap things up for this week’s edition of Climate Joy. We hope this edition inspires you to keep up the good fight and make sure to share this post to spread the positive climate vibes!

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Feature image of Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern. Credit: NATO/Flickr.

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