Climate Joy Week #48: EU Unveils First Climate Law, Australian State of New South Wales Officially Free From Bushfires and more

Climate Joy Week #48: EU Unveils First Climate Law, Australian State of New South Wales Officially Free From Bushfires and more

Welcome to another week of our Climate Joy series, a series that features a roundup of positive climate news to inspire your fight for environmental and climate action. This news isn’t usually popularized by mainstream media which is exactly why we curate them– to ensure you get good news and not just the negative ones.

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

1. Finnair steps up efforts to be carbon neutral by 2045

Finland’s flag carrier Finnair announced last week that it has stepped up its efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. It intends to achieve this through a range of measures and will begin by halving its net emissions by 2025 from their 2019 level and will partner with oil refining and Finnish biofuels producer Neste to gradually increase the use of biofuel to 10 million euros annually by the end of 2025.

The airline’s other efforts to cut emissions include a roughly four billion euro investment in a new fleet in order to cut carbon emissions in its European traffic by 10 to 15% and an additional investment of 60 million euros “in sustainability” between 2020 and 2025.

By the end of 2020, it will introduce an optional biofuel ticket for passengers who wish to cut their carbon footprint.

Credit: Thinking Portfolio.

2. EU unveils climate law

The European Commission has unveiled plans for its first ever climate law, which will act as the basis of the European Union’s aim to make the 27-country bloc climate neutral by 2050 and make its commitment legally-binding for all member states.

“This climate law will set in stone Europe’s position as a climate leader on the global stage,” said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

The commission will present a “responsible” plan by September on how to raise its current 2030 target of reducing greenhouse gases by 40% from 1990 levels to “at least 50% and towards 55%”.

To finance the climate transition, the EU plans to mobilize one trillion euros (US$1.1 trillion) in investment over the next 10 years. The financial plan includes a mechanism designed to help the regions that would be most disrupted economically by the transition to cleaner industries.

The new law has received a lot of criticism from environmental activists especially on the issue of delaying in increasing the 2030 goals, however any law making climate action binding on all member states is a step in the right direction.

3. One of UK’s largest water companies to spend £1.2bn on protecting the environment

Severn Trent, one of the UK’s biggest water companies supplying to eight million people in the Midlands and also a small area in Wales, plans to spend £1.2 billion to help repair the environment and end its contribution to the climate crisis by 2030. The company outlined told investors it would funnel one percent of its annual profits – roughly £10 million a year – to its community fund that supports environmental projects chosen by local communities.

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Within the next decade, the company aims to curb emissions to virtually zero by switching to 100% renewable energy to power its water pumps and an all-electric fleet of vehicles. It will also invest in schemes to improve the biodiversity of 5,000 hectares of land and has promised to work with 9,000 farmers to switch to more sustainable farming methods that reduce the need for chemical fertilisers.

Liv Garfield, the chief executive, said: “By committing to invest £1.2bn in the next five years, we believe we can make a real difference to the environment and people we serve while delivering strong business outcomes.”

4. Aussie state of New South Wales is officially free from bushfires

After months of devastating fires, the Australian state of New South Wales has extinguished all bushfires for the first time in more than 240 days, according to the NSW Rural Fire Service. New South Wales, home to the nation’s largest city of Sydney, was the worst affected state in the country.

In just this state alone, the fires claimed the lives of at least 28 people and an estimated one billion animals; as well as destroying 3,000 homes as reported by CNN.

“For the first time since early July 2019, there is currently no active bush or grass fires in #NSW,” tweeted the NSW Rural Fire Service. “That’s more than 240 days of fire activity for the state.”

Deputy commissioner of the fire service Rob Rogers said it had been “a truly devastating fire season for both firefighters and residents, who’ve suffered through so much this season.”

The fires were brought under control in part thanks to torrential rains, but the downpours brought major flooding, damaging winds and dangerous surf.

And that’s all for this week. Join us next week same time, same place and until then make sure to spread the positive news by sharing this post with your networks!

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Feature image of EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Martin Schirdewan. Credit: GUE/NGL Group.

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