Climate Joy Week #34: Coldplay Pauses Tour for Environment Pending Carbon Neutral Concerts, ‘Climate Emergency’ Word of the Year and more…

Climate Joy Week #34: Coldplay Pauses Tour for Environment Pending Carbon Neutral Concerts, ‘Climate Emergency’ Word of the Year and more…

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

EWP x Australian Ethical Superannuation

Welcome to another week’s edition of our Climate Joy Series. This is the 34th edition of this beloved weekly series where we bring a collection of positive climate news to you. From renewable energy and the music industry to cleaner aviation practices, here is what we’re celebrating this week:

1. Easyjet becomes first major airline to become carbon neutral

British budget airline company EasyJet, Europe’s fifth biggest airline, has announced that it will commence offsetting emissions from its fleet of 331 planes immediately. With this, EasyJet becomes the first major airline in the world to operate net zero carbon flights. “From today onwards, easyJet will make all flights net zero carbon,” the company said in a statement.

The British company said it expects to spend £25 million (US$32.4 million) over the next year compensating “for every tonne of CO2 emitted from fuel used for its flights, by ensuring there is one tonne less in the atmosphere.” EasyJet says it invests in programs that have been certified to deliver carbon reductions such as tree planting. 

Credit: EasyJet.

“We recognize that offsetting is only an interim measure, but we want to take action on our carbon emissions now,” EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said in a statement. To achieve this goal, the airline has secured a partnership with Airbus to research hybrid and electric aircraft that could be introduced on European short-haul flights. It is also working with companies like Wright Electric, Rolls Royce and Safran on electric planes and other clean technology.

2. Clean energy startup makes solar breakthrough

Clean energy startup Heliogen, has announced that it has discovered a way to use artificial intelligence and a field of mirrors to reflect so much sunlight that it generates extreme heat above 1,000 degrees Celsius in a breakthrough for concentrated solar power. Traditional solar power uses rooftop panels to capture the energy from the sun,while concentrated solar power uses mirrors to reflect the sun to a single point. 

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Concentrated solar has been used in the past to produce electricity and, in some limited fashion, to create heat for industry. The problem is that in the past concentrated solar couldn’t get temperatures hot enough to make cement and steel. Until now. Essentially, Heliogen created a solar oven — one capable of reaching temperatures that are roughly a quarter of what you’d find on the surface of the sun.

This breakthrough means that for the first time, solar energy can now be used in energy intensive processes such as the manufacture of cement, steel and glass. This is a really big deal considering that production of cement for instance is responsible for seven percent of global carbon emissions.  

3. Coldplay pauses tour for the environment, pending carbon neutral concerts

British band Coldplay has announced that they will not be going on tour to promote their new album “Everyday Life” until the concerts can be “actively beneficial to the environment”. Frontman Chris Martin told BBC News that the music group wants future tours to “have a positive impact” and be “carbon neutral”.

“Our next tour will be the best possible version of a tour like that environmentally,” said Martin. “We would be disappointed if it’s not carbon neutral. We’ve done a lot of big tours at this point. How do we turn it around so it’s not so much taking as giving?”

Coldplay in concert in 2009. Credit: Flickr.

Coldplay is the latest in a growing list of musical acts that are reconsidering the impact of their tours on the environment. 1975, another British band are working towards making their tours carbon-efficient and have pledged to plant a tree for every ticket sold to their UK arena tour in February. American singer Billie Eilish has announced plans to make her world tour “as green as possible” by banning plastic straws, encouraging fans to bring refillable water bottles and providing comprehensive recycling facilities.

4. ‘Climate Emergency’ is word of the year

The Oxford Advanced Dictionary has announced “Climate Emergency” as the word of the year 2019. Usage of the word which is defined as “a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it” grew 100-fold -10,796%- in the past year. 

Oxford said the word soared from “relative obscurity” to “one of the most prominent – and prominently debated – terms of 2019.” Oxford relayed that the choice was reflective, not just of the rise in climate awareness, but the focus specifically on the language we use to discuss it. The rise of “climate emergency” reflected a conscious push towards language of immediacy and urgency, the dictionary said.

In 2019, “climate” became the most common word associated with “emergency”, three times more than “health emergency” in second.

5. Apple’s new campus to run on 100% renewable energy

Tech giant Apple has announced that its new campus will run on 100% renewable energy. This will include power generated on-site by solar panels. This information came as part of the announcement for breaking ground for its new 133-acre campus in Austin, Texas.

The new campus which will is the Mac Pro manufacturing site is UL Zero Waste to Landfill Gold certified, and has been recognized by the Austin Water for Excellence in Water Conservation and Excellence in Environmental Stewardship.

Credit: Apple.

Apple has also partnered  with Austin-based Bartlett Tree Experts to preserve and increase the diversity of native trees on the 133-acre property. Thousands of trees spanning over 20 varieties native to Texas are planned for the campus. Additionally, the site will be designed to maximize green space, with landscaping covering over 60 percent of the campus will be covered by landscape.  including a 50-acre nature and wildlife preserve that will be open to the public.

6. Dutch government slashes speed limit to combat climate change

It’s time for motorists in the Netherlands to slow down. The Dutch government put forward a new climate change package last week which includes a proposal to lower the daytime speed limit on motorways to just 100 km/h (62 mph) from the current 130 km/h (80 mph). At night, the limit will stay the same. The proposal has so far been controversial. 

The decision to lower the speed limit follows months of disruptive protests by Dutch farmers, who argued that the government was unfairly blaming them for climate change. The package adopted by the government is aimed at reducing the amount of nitrogen pollution and also includes measures to tackle emissions from agriculture through changes to livestock feed.

Experts have previously called for lower speed limits to cut pollution. According to research by the European Environmental Agency, lowering the highway speed limit from 120 km/h (75 mph) to 110 km/h (68 mph) could cut the fuel consumption of cars by up to 18%. However, the agency admits its calculation is based on an assumption of smooth speed-limit abiding drivers.

And with that, we wrap up this week’s edition of Climate Joy. We hope you have a lovely week ahead and make sure to spreading the climate positivity by sharing this news!

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Feature image of Coldplay frontman Chris Martin via Flickr.

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