Climate Joy Week #33: Qantas Announces Ambitious Carbon Neutral Plan, European Investment Bank to Stop Fossil Fuel Financing and more…

Climate Joy Week #33: Qantas Announces Ambitious Carbon Neutral Plan, European Investment Bank to Stop Fossil Fuel Financing and more…

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

EWP x Australian Ethical Superannuation

As always, we happily welcome you to this week’s edition of our Climate Joy Series. We started Climate Joy to bring positive climate news to you and to encourage one another to keep up with the good fight. That’s why we’re so appreciative of your readership and your weekly visits to this column. Thank you for sustaining these joys each week and for using them as inspiration in your climate activism.

And now without further ado, here’s what we’re celebrating this week:

1. Australia’s National Airline Announces Carbon Neutral Plans

Qantas, Australia’s national airline has announced its ambitious plan to be carbon neutral by 2050. The plan is a three-pronged approach which includes doubling the number of flights being offset; capping net emissions from next year onwards and investing $50 million over 10 years to help develop a sustainable aviation fuel industry.

This ambitious pledged by the airline comes after its first ‘zero-waste flight’ was taken earlier this year. This announcement boldly reflects the airline’s commitment to combatting climate change. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce relayed “…these short term actions will go towards a longer term goal of being completely net carbon neutral by the year 2050”.

We hope this action inspires everyone to offset travel-associated carbon usage, especially with upcoming holidays around the corner.

Credit: Pascal Renet/Pexels.

2. Hyatt Ditches Travel Size Plastic Toiletries

Global hotel chain Hyatt has announced that it will be ditching travel-sized toiletries from its hotel rooms, making it easier for travellers and guests to do the right thing by the planet. Hyatt is the latest hotel chain in a growing number of travel companies ditching travel size toiletries, following the lead of IHG (owners of Holiday Inn) and Marriott.

Portable tubes of shampoo, conditioner and bath gel will be replaced with bulk-sized toiletries across Hyatt’s global chain of 220,000 rooms starting from June 2021. This policy encompasses 20 sub-brands under the Hyatt umbrella, including Park Hyatt, Hyatt Place and the Andaz. 

Credit: Hyatt.

3. Google to Launch an Accelerator for Climate Change Startups

The tech giant, Google has announced that it will launch an accelerator for social impact startups working on sustainability products. Google’s Sustainability Officer Kate Brandt made the announcement a few days ago at the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon and it was met with incredible excitement.

Now big companies generally face lots of uncertainties when it comes to raising investments for startups in the sustainability sector but to help with this, Google is looking for 8-10 startups from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to take part in a six-month accelerator program in early 2020. Applications for the first cohort will open soon and Google plans to organize a second cohort later in the year. 

Brandt has relayed that the selected startups would be judged based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and Google pledges to introduce graduates of the program to investors for their businesses. Cleantech investing is notoriously sluggish and so it means a lot that Google has chosen to intervene in this manner.


4. European Investment Bank to Stop Financing Fossil Fuel Projects

Fossil fuel projects are about to get a big kick in the gut. One of the world’s biggest public lenders, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced that from 2021, it will no longer fund fossil fuel projects. This comes as part of the bank’s effort to combat climate change.

Related Post: Simple Ways I Make My Money a Force for Good, with Eco-Warrior Jennifer Nini

According to the new policy, energy projects applying for EIB funding will need to show they can produce one kilowatt hour of energy while emitting less than 250 grams of carbon dioxide. This move effectively removes traditional gas-burning power plants from the equation. However gas projects based on what the bank calls “new technology” such as carbon capture and storage would still be funded. 

The policy change will also see the EIB prioritize lending for energy efficiency, low carbon technology and grid improvements. It comes at a time when the EU is trying to ratchet up its climate efforts.

Phasing out the funding of gas, oil and coal projects to help combat climate change was unanimously approved by EU finance ministers. The slight bump in the road though is that the ban on funding now comes into effect a year later than originally proposed after lobbying by European Union member states, the bank’s shareholders.

And on that happy note, we wrap things up for this edition of Climate Joy. Before you go, make sure to spread the positive news by sharing this post; the mainstream media feeds on negative news but there is good in the world too. And we aim to share it every week in this series. See you next week!

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Feature image of Qantas plane via Pexels.

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